Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Blaugust 17, 2016: Nobody Ever Suspects the Butterfly!

Today’s blaug shall serve a DUAL PURPOSE. We are doing a push related to butterflies at work, so I am going to update our terrible fact sheet and create something mildly presentable.

Step One: Go through the the plant tables in the back of ‘Attracting Butterflies to your Garden’ by Hunt, Grund, Keane & Forrest. Jot down a list of the caterpillar food plants that they list which we regularly stock, along with the caterpillars they are most likely to attract.

Step Two: Select a few that you reckon you’ll have in stock when the ad comes out, and write some danged plant blurbs! So here we go with step two.


Chrysocephalum apiculatum is a grey-leafed groundcover or small shrub to 40cm. It produces small yellow button flowers that retain much of their colour when dry and give the plant its common name, Button Everlasting. It is suitable for all soils short of Limestone, and all areas with 400mm of rainfall or more. It is a primary food source for the caterpillars of the Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)

Poa poiformis, or the Coast Tussock-grass, is a tall, thick grass of up to 1.2m height in good conditions. Occurring extensively along the SA coastline, this attractive grass is also suitable for inland conditions. Requires a rainfall of 350mm. It is a primary food source for the caterpillar of the Mottled Grass-skipper (Anisynta cynone).

Microlaena stipoides, or Weeping Rice-grass, is one of the few local rhizomatous grasses. Rarely more than 40cm tall, and frequently semi-prostrate, this lovely spreading grass is ideal for planting to create a ‘meadow’ effect. It will tolerate occasional foot traffic. In SA it occurs predominantly in higher country, requiring a rainfall of 400mm annually. It tolerates most soil types excluding limestone, but does best on forest loams. It is a great food source for the caterpillar of the White-banded Grass-dart (Taractrocera papyria papyria).

Turns out the archive doesn't have good photos of grasses. So that is something to hunt for too.

I’m not going to do a whole lot more of this tonight, as I should save some excitement for the future, and honestly I should work less for free. So I might leave it there for the blaug. Toodles!


  1. many people come looking for native grasses?

    1. Lots! Not enough, to my mind, but I'd say a quarter of all sales includes at least one grass.

      This is a misleading statistic, mind, as people tend to take fewer grasses than trees and shrubs in any given sale. It is also much less common (though it happens!) for someone to come in and buy a full crate of fifty grasses.