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Eventide- 15

A Moody Sundown

The day was cloudy and  had intermittent rains, when I visited the beach at Cherai in Kerala.

The sunset was not as bright as one would expect. It was a hide-n-seek, with the sun now behind the clouds, now out of the clouds!

Still, sunset is always a charming and never tiring phenomenon!!

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Blue Mormon

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On Ixora flowers

Blue Mormon butterfly (Papilio polymnestor) belongs to the group of Swallowtail butterflies and is endemic to South India and Sri Lanka. They are fairly large and  seen throughout the year.

I have seen the butterfly attracted to Ixora and Pagoda flowers in my garden for feeding, as is evident in these pictures. Hibiscus and Jasmine also are preferred food source. But the host plant for the larvae is Citrus plant.

The life cycle is similar to other swallowtails, with the caterpillar passing through five instars before the metamorphosis. If interested, you can view my posts on Common Mormon and Lime butterfly to see some stages of life cycle.

Blue Mormon is the State butterfly of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

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On Pagoda flowers

 

 

Lime Butterfly

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Pupal stage

It’s the life of a Lime butterfly (Papilio demoleus)….the cycle that is completed in my garden.
I could get all stages but eggs.

The common names, Lime butterfly or Lemon butterfly, refer to their host plants, which are usually citrus species such as the cultivated lime.

The caterpillars are voracious eaters and pass through five instars (stages) before pupating. My citrus plant was pretty much ravaged by them. Here I am presenting only two stages.

After the last stage, the caterpillar stays immobile and secretes a liquid to form the pupal case that hangs from the stem of the plant with a silky thread or girdle.
The butterfly emerges after nine days from the pupa.

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Caterpillar-Third instar
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Fifth instar
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Just after emerging from pupa

 

Smile of Earth- 9

Clerodendrum

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Clerodendrum infortunatum- Hill glorybower

The genus Clerodendrum is native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the world, with most of the species occurring in southern Asia and tropical Africa. Many species are widely distributed throughout the continents.

Most of the species are ornamental with bright and attractive flowers. The flowers provide food for butterflies, Sunbirds, and Hummingbirds.
Many species of this genus have been described in various indigenous systems of medicine and are used in preparation of folklore medicines for the treatment of various life-threatening diseases. Many of Clerodendrum genus have been very well studied for their chemical constituents and biological activities.

Clerodendrum belongs to the family Lamiaceae and are mostly woody shrubs.

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Clerodendrum paniculatum- Pagoda flower (Krishna kireedam)
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Clerodendrum splendens- Flaming glorybower
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Seed head- Flaming glorybower

Smile of Earth- 8

Oh My Gourd!

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Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia)- Female flower

The Gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) of flowering plants has about 950+ species of vegetable and ornamental plants. Members of the family are annual or perennial herbs native to temperate and tropical areas and include cucumbers, gourds, melons, squashes, and pumpkins.
These are fast-growing creeping or climbing vines.

Most species have unisexual flowers, borne in the leaf axils. Flowers may be white or yellow. Male flowers have up to five anthers, often fused or joined and in female flowers the ovary is seen at an inferior level to petals.
The fruit in most species is a fleshy many-seeded berry with a tough rind, often attaining considerable size. The seeds are flattened.

Enjoy these cheerful yellow flowers of  Gourd family!

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Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)- Male flower
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Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)- Female flower
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Ash gourd (Benincasa hispida)- Male flower

 

Eventide- 14

Spectacle from San Simeon

San Simeon – located along California’s scenic Highway 1 – is a perfect coastal yet rural getaway.

Beautiful coast line. Arrived there just in time for sunset, on the way back from Hearst Castle. Captured these moments from a vantage point.

What an amazing view of the sunset!!

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Dragonflies

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Common picture wing – Rhyothemis variegata

This is my third post of Dragonflies. I have two types of dragonflies here,  from my garden!
Friends? Oh yes…they are predators of other flies that are pests.

The common picture wing (Rhyothemis variegata) or variegated flutterer, is a species of dragonfly with colorful wings tinted with pale yellow. There are a few black spots and patches, which are more pronounced in females than in males. These are called as “Onathumpi”, in my native language.

Orange-winged dropwing, alias Scarlet rock glider (Trithemis kirbyi) is a scarlet dragonfly with a broad reddish amber patch on the base of transparent wings. The females differ being duller.

Most probably these dragonflies are visitors to my garden, knowing their natural habitats which are wetlands.

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Onathumpi – Common Picture wing
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Scarlet Rock Glider – Trithemis kirbyi
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Scarlet Rock Glider – Another angle

Bagworm

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What’s that…feathers sticking to a flower?!!
Do not get fooled, that is a bug from my garden…the bagworm.

Bagworms are a type of small moths belonging to Psychidae. Larvae form characteristic silken cases covered with bits of leaves, twigs, and other debris.
Here she is more concerned about the beauty of her case, hence decoration with soft feathers! 🙂

These moths pupate in the larval case after it is attached to a substratum. In most species, the female does not leave the case, as it lacks wings and has only rudimentary parts. The male bagworm emerges as a freely flying moth.

The adult’s life span is too short. Males live for only 2-3 days. Females lay eggs in the larval case itself and die. Once the eggs hatch, larvae crawl out to form their own cases.

I am not sure about the identity of this bagworm.

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The bug comes out of the case
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Crawling over
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It took 3-4 hrs for the bug to crawl around the flower!

Smile of Earth- 7

Ginger family flowers

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White Ginger Lily- Hedychium coronarium (Saugandhikapoo)

Ginger family (Zingiberaceae) is a family of flowering plants with aromatic perennial herbs.

Flowers may be showy or inconspicuous, as seen in these pictures. When inconspicuous, they are seen in showy cymose inflorescences, formed by conspicuous, spirally arranged bracts (leaflike structures). These flower clusters are cone-like in appearance. The Zingiberaceae flowers resemble orchid flowers.

Many species are economically important as ornamental plants, spices, or are used in traditional medicine. A few examples of this family are Ginger, Turmeric, Cardamom, Arrowroot etc.

The Insulin plant is a relative of this family.

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Wild ginger- Zingiber zerumbet  (Mala inji)
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Insulin plant- Costus igneus
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Red ginger- Alpinia purpurata

Smile of Earth- 6

Spadix Inflorescence 

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Anthurium

A Spadix is a type of inflorescence found in the Araceae family.

It consists of a spathe, which is simply a large leaf-like bract, colourful or showy, to attract pollinators. Spadix is the cylindrical inflorescence, basically a spike, with small flowers on a thickened, fleshy axis and it is protected by the spathe in bud stage.

Many Aroids are ornamental plants due to the Spadix and Spathe.

The sap of Aroids contains needle-like calcium oxalate crystals, which can be mildly toxic and can irritate hands and sensitive tissues. However, not all aroids are toxic and used as vegetable, including their leaves.

Some members of this family reproduce by seeds, whereas many have vegetative propagation.

The inflorescence of species such as Titan arum gives off a very pungent smell, often resembling rotten flesh.

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Peace Lily
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Wild Taro
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Calla Lilly