It’s always a joy to see something new visiting the garden. This past weekend I was out and about in the yard and spotted a new butterfly to me, the Checkered White (Pontia protodice). A handsome butterfly that appears white with brown markings and (to me) a powdery blue body. This was something that I hadn’t seen before. I’ll be honest when I see most small white butterflies I think of the imported cabbageworm.
Much to my surprise I learned that this is actually a minor agriculture pest down south of plants in the Brassicaceae family that include mustard, cabbage, and broccoli. However, I am not growing anything in the mustard family this year in our garden. Now the plant I found it on, Diamond Frost Euphorbia, is not a host plant for the larvae but I did discover that Clemoe serrulata (Rocky Mountain bee-plant) is. I am not sure what genus of Clemoe I have growing in my garden I am assuming it is the more popular species C. hassleriana or C. marshallii and I didn’t find any literature supporting that they can be potential host plants. Literature did support that some of the “weedy” mustard such as Virginia pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum) and a few others are potential host plants.
Adults forage on 50 species of plants including many in the aster family. Our yard currently has many cone flowers and black-eyed Susan’s in bloom so I am guessing she was just resting on the euphorbia. Regardless the butterfly was a welcome visitor. I will have to scout my Clemoe and see if I notice any of the larvae and be careful when I do my fall clean up. I was reading that they overwinter in the chrysalids.