Carry me seed

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Phyllanthus amarus

This is a sneaky weed. I’ve walked past it dozens of times, always waiting for it to flower. It wasn’t until a friend brought me specimen from her yard that I discovered that the tiniest flowers dangle underneath the leaves. Find more info here.

Phyllanthus amarus fruits

Phyllanthus amarus flowers (calyx less than 1mm wide)

Frangipani hornworm caterpillar

animal, Key West Field Guide

Pseudosphinx tetrio

Although most people who walked by while I was admiring this caterpillar shared the wonder of such a gigantic, colorful creature by taking photos and watching it wander down the sidewalk, a few imparted more negative opinions. One informed me that it would bite me (it didn’t). That it would burn me like “muriatic acid” (it didn’t). And a third suggested I would catch a disease (haven’t appeared to). But none of these people knew the name of the caterpillar or even what it fed on. After identifying this larva online, I transported him to the nearest frangipani tree about 200 yards away, which had about 5 other Pseudosphinx tetrio caterpillars munching on the leathery leaves. Moral of this story- assess the risks and decide for yourself. If it has a mouth, it can bite. (I’d probably survive.) It could sting. (Again, I’d probably survive, but it is something to consider in advance.) And truthfully, if I got sick from a caterpillar, I’d probably think it was worth the novelty. (And I’d probably survive – and I’d definitely share the tale with others.)

Pseudosphinx tetrio caterpillar

Pseudosphinx tetrio caterpillar

And for true excitement, topped only by watching paint dry, some video of the caterpillar munching on a frangipani leaf.

Tex-Mex tobacco

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia

Find more info here.

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia plant

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia flower

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia leaves

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia dried fruit on plant

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia fresh fruit

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia fruit (opened to show seed)

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia seed

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia seed

Nettleleaf Porterweed

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Stachytarpheta cayennensis

Formerly known as Stachytarpheta urticifolia. Find more info here.

Stachytarpheta cayennensis flower flat front view

Stachytarpheta cayennensis flower side view

Stachytarpheta cayennensis leaves showing the “quilted” (bullate) appearance