Monday, June 11, 2012


Several years ago, while visiting the former house of fellow garden blogger, Pam Penick of Digging, my eye was drawn to the snapdragon vine, Maurandya antirrhiniflora,  growing on her dovecote. The following year I bought a 4" pot of the vine which I trained up a trellis near the patio. The vine never grew well and the flowers were very small, probably due to lack of water, and this year I pulled it out.

Then at the nursery one day I spotted a snapdragon vine with much larger flowers. The tag said Snapdragon vine 'giant purple'. I snapped it up and planted it in a pot in front of another trellis.

Its flowers were indeed much larger but I had no idea for the bonus I was going to receive with this plant. A common buckeye butterfly, Junonia coenia,  came into the garden and was busy flitting around this area. I couldn't get a photo of her because she wouldn't sit still. But I did a little research and learnt that this plant is a host to the larva of the buckeye. So that's what she was up to. Sometime later I spotted a minute caterpillar on one of the leaves.

I have been watching closely for days and this morning counted 5. Three are at the top of the plant which is looking a little ragged.

I shall be watching carefully for the chrysalis to appear and then there will be 5 little buckeyes in the garden and maybe no plant left if they all get busy!


  1. Buckeyes are cool butterflies. Thanks for helping to propagate the species. Maybe one of these guys will make it out my way someday. Hopefully, I'll have a yummy snapdragon vine by them.

  2. I have those caterpillars at the nursery- excited to know what they are!!! The vine is beautiful and obviously very happy!!!

  3. Beautiful flowers and vine. I have found that butterfly host plants have a way of growing back rapidly in response to being eaten. It's almost like they plan to be eaten. Mother Nature is grand to let us have both the butterflies AND the flowers in our gardens. David/:0)

  4. I missed this vine so much when I moved to the new house. I bought a new one, but it didn't grow well, which I attributed to a lack of full sun. I wrote it off, but it must have seeded out because this year one popped up near the original planting spot, and it's growing up the deck trellis. No blooms yet, sadly (probably that lack of full sun), but its pretty leaves are a welcome addition.