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News Story
Updated: 12/02/2013 11:08:01AM

Garden Club learns about Florida butterflies

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PHOTO PROVIDED

Gil MacAdam demonstrates butterfly- friendly shrubs and plants for the Arcadia Garden Club.

PHOTO PROVIDED

This spicebush swallowtail butterfly is common in DeSoto County. Its larval food includes redbay and camphor tree.

By JAMIE PIPHER

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“Grow in knowledge … do not stay in the same place.” This was the challenge from Gil MacAdam, Landscape for Wildlife Consultant, to the Arcadia Garden Club on how to create a backyard habitat for butterflies. MacAdam, who recently led a Nature Walk at the Environmental Learning Lab, led the Garden Club through a slide presentation on butterfly habitats and demonstrated shrubs and plants that will bring butterflies to our own backyard. “Know your property. Have a plan.” For the ideal butterfly spot, find an open and sunny spot away from the wind.

Butterflies need a nectar source and a larvae food plant. Bidens, a member of the Aster family, will bring butterflies. Commonly thought of as a weed, Biden species is the third most common reliable source of nectar in Florida and without them, many a butterfly would “ go to bed … roost … hungry.” Other examples of butterfly-attracting scrubs and plants include azaleas, golden dewdrop, scarlet milkweed, firebush, pentas, lantana, candlebush, pink-ball, flamingo plant, pawpaw plant, wild coffee, marlberry, Jamaican caper, porterweed shrub, and Turk’s cap.

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