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Old 06-30-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Default Opposite leaves, milkweed-like

This popped up last year where a big maple used to be. I didn't plant it. It looked like it might be an Asclepias syriaca / common milkweed seedling last year, so I didn't bother to pull it up.

It does have a milky sap, opposite leaves and reddish stems. Not woody. The leaves and stems never got as big as common milkweed's do, and it branches out unlike milkweeds. And now that it is starting to flower, it doesn't look like Asclepias of any kind to me.

Opposite leaves, milkweed-like-dsc06202.jpg

Opposite leaves, milkweed-like-dsc06203.jpg

Here's another small plant, where it looks a little more like a milkweed:

Opposite leaves, milkweed-like-dsc06207.jpg
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:05 PM   #2
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Perhaps Apocynum cannabinum, aka Indian Hemp (dogbane)?
http://www.missouriplants.com/Whiteopp/Apocynum_cannabinum_page.html
http://www.primitiveways.com/hemp_dogbane.html
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=APCA
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/apocynumcann.html
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:12 PM   #3
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Default Flowers and a moth

This moth is a grapeleaf skeletonizer, Harrisina americana. I found some info about their larval hosts, but this moth is going after nectar, so not much help here... except that the Butterflies and Moths of North America page for this moth has a picture of what looks like the same plant:

Species Detail | Butterflies and Moths of North America

I'll try to get a better picture of the flowers as they open.

Thanks for any help or even wild guesses.
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Opposite leaves, milkweed-like-dsc06194.jpg   Opposite leaves, milkweed-like-dsc06199.jpg   Opposite leaves, milkweed-like-dsc06200.jpg  
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:18 PM   #4
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That's it, alright! The links refer to the species name referring to hemp / cannabis but it sure has a lot in common with milkweeds too.
Thanks a lot, that was fast!
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:45 AM   #5
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Swamp thing: What a cool looking moth! When I first looked at it, I thought it was a type of lightning bug! Excellent insect!

I was going to add a little info about dogbane. People oftentimes mistake dogbane for milkweed when searching for food to feed caterpillars. It often grows near milkweed and does have milky white sap when you break a leaf. Monarch cats will die before eating dogbane.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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At first I figured it was a yellow-collared moth or a related species, but this grapeleaf skeletonizer has a curved body. And its family (Zyganoideae) is all the way at the end of the list, so it took a while to find... Check out the caterpillars! They eat grapeleaves, redbud and Virginia creeper.
Species Harrisina americana - Grapeleaf Skeletonizer - Hodges#4624 - BugGuide.Net



I did a search at bugguide for Apocynum and there's a lot of discussion about Asclepias and Apocynum as larval hosts, with some people confusing the plants, and some insects that apparently can use either plant (overlapped with the wrong plant ID, it gets confusing...)

Definitely going to try making some string with this plant this fall.
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:54 PM   #7
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Nice moth...apparently doesn't come here. What we get is the Eight-spotted Forrester moth and there was TONS of them this year. Lots of wild grape plants around here and they came very close to finishing off all foliage in the area. I was finding them crawling all over looking for food after they finished off the foliage on the vines they started out on.
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:31 AM   #8
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Bugguide has reports from Texas, but it doesn't say from where in Texas... it's a big state! I've been hearing a lot about critter phenomena in Texas lately, all the rain you had last year must have had some effect on the insects.

We have fox grapes in this area (Vitis labrusca). I weed dozens of them from under the tree where the birds go, and the edges of the woods are full of them.
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