New and Old Things Emerging

Top Photo: Tiny yellow flower of Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber.

The fruit of the Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber is about an inch long. They look more like tiny watermelons but have the taste of a cucumber with a lemony tang. These vines grow in many locations throughout our campus, wherever they’re not supposed to grow.

Small fruit is said to be tasty with a hint of lemon.

I intended to plant this vegetable in my own personal garden at home this year but was sidetracked by other matters. I’ll make sure to plant them next year.

There are several species of swallowtail flying at this time of year, black swallowtail is one of them. The one pictured is a female with rather dull markings and might possibly be mistaken for a spicebush swallowtail. The orange spot on the hindwing with a black dot in the center says it’s a black swallowtail. Spicebush swallowtail has the orange spot but lacks the black dot.

Black dot enclosed in orange spot on hindwing indicates black swallowtail. This is a female.

Also notice (below) there are two complete rows of orange spots on the underside of the hindwing. Spicebush has two rows of spots but lacks one orange spot on the inner row of spots. It only has six orange spots on that row. The distinguishing orange spot with black dot is also visible from below. The individual in the photo has damage to its left forewing.

Same individual as above.

I’m sure all of you who have grown parsley or fennel are familiar with the black swallowtail’s larvae.

Full grown black swallowtail larva in foreground. Background larva younger.

Eastern tiger swallowtails continue to visit our flower garden. The one pictured is nectaring on little joe pye weed.

Eastern tiger swallowtail nectaring on little joe pye weed.

I spotted a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar making its way across the path, picked it up, photographed it and sent it on its way again.

Spicebush swallowtail larva.

These caterpillars can be yellow, green or even orange in color. They really glow when backlit.

Caterpillars can be yellow, green or even orange.

And finally, with the recent rain added to our mulched plantings, stinkhorns have re-emerged. They look to be devil’s stinkhorn (Phallus rubicundus).

Stinkhorns emerge from subterrainean “eggs.”

I discussed the two stinkhorn species I’ve seen here on campus back on 28 July. It’s been locally rather dry up until the last few nights. The wet mulch has once again sprung stinkhorns from their subterranean “eggs.” But, if you want to see them you’d better hurry, they typically last only a day. I did, however, see at least half a dozen “eggs” peeking up through the mulch.

I brushed back some of the mulch to reveal stinkhorn “egg.”

These peculiar fungi are located just outside the doors leading from the main building to Gateway Park, under a large holy shrub.

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