19 October 2010


This Fringed Spiderflower or Purple Cleome from the Capparaceae Family is a common garden weed in our landscape. But how many people out there knows that it is also a host plant of the Striped Albatross and Psyche butterflies? Certainly not me until I started working on the butterfly project at end 2008 and early 2009.

Check out the links below for more information on the butterflies and the plant:
  1. http://www.butterflycircle.com/checklist2/index.php?page=plant_details&plant_id=22
  2. http://www.hear.org/pier/species/cleome_rutidosperma.htm
  3. http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&ibra=all&card=H39
Typically, the leaves are almost always green, but in the later photos, the leaves were purplish and this appears to be a symptom of nutrient deficiency in the Phosphorus element. I guess it is possible in this case since the plant was growing from a gap, between the concrete slabs of the drainage canal, where nutrients are likely limited.