A Plant that Feeds Ants

I was thrilled to discover my first Red Passion flower bloom last week.

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When I checked on it the second day, it had all ready closed.

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Upon closer examination, I discovered it was covered with tiny ants.

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These ants were busily scurrying between tiny green discs on the outer edges of the sepals/calyx.

I at first thought these green discs to be aphids,

but they were too uniformily spaced.

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I had to do a little research to discover their identity.

They are tiny nectaries, produced by the plant to feed the ants.

These ants in residence provide services in return.

They guard the plants against aphids and caterpillars.

If you have been following the FLOWER, you have seen my caterpillar photos,

many of which were taken on my wild Passion flower vines.

I have not seen one caterpillar on this Red Passion flower vine.

So the Red Passion plant has pet ants.

Who knew?

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FLOWER

My Weed

There is a whole world on one weed in my garden.

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I did not kill this weed because of a hybrid I fell in love with in Tuscany.

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So when I saw it growing on the bank, I staked it up to compare it with the hybrid.

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What a wonderful weed it has been.

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This wild Passion vine/Maypop/Passiflora incarnata has been a whole laboratory.

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There are ants on the pods and stems.

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The best part is all the caterpillars of various sizes.

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Tiny, shiny, spiky, orange and black caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies.

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I check on this plant every day and find something new.

An added bonus is a beautiful, blue morning glory that grew up into the Passion vine.

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My daddy’s favorite color of blue, bluebird blue.

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I have been blessed by this weed.  I am so thankful I did not kill it.

Where would all those lovely caterpillars be?  Nowhere, that’s where.

Follow the weed.

Wild Passion

Talk about a tantalizing title!

One of the wild Passion vines that I found on the bank has finally put out a bloom.

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Now I can post the wild flower photo side-by-side with my hybrid I ordered.

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Wild Passion Vine Leaves
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Hybrid Passion vine leaves
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The hybrid has 5-lobed leaves, bracts at the petiole, and curlier tendrils.

I found three wild vines on the bank. I have cleared out the weeds around them and staked them.

They seem to be struggling to survive, unlike the potted hybrid.

Typical.  “I’d Rather be a Tall Ugly Weed” (Julio Noboa Polanco)

Follow the wild FLOWER!

 

 

 

My Living Memory

I went on the trip of my dreams last fall.

My family spent two weeks in beautiful Italy.

Everywhere we looked there was something new, unusual and exciting.

This flower stopped my in my tracks.

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Everything else fell away

the only two things in the world were me and this face.

Passion flower.

I posted it as a wordless Wednesday from Tuscany.

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Now,  I have this plant. It arrived last week, wrapped up in a box from Easy to Grow Bulbs.com.

Passiflora hybrid "Blue Crown"
Passiflora hybrid “Blue Crown”

Every year when it blooms,  I will pause and remember

that I got to have one of my dreams. I am so grateful.

FLOWER is fortunate!