Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Woes of naming the plants

Watakakakaka...can't figure out where the kakas end , just like in banananana. Getting the name to stop at the right place is a lot easier than identifying the plant in the wild. I am equipped with pretty decent photos of the host plants of butterflies along with their :

1. Common name

2. The vernacular name

3.The botanical name

4. Classification details

5. Fairly good description of what it flowers like , seeds like , fruits like, smells like or tastes like.

But it is God given talent to actually identify them - thats something that's hopelessly missing with me . Why ? I can't even place people's faces even if I saw them everyday. And these are green leaves , all looking similiar.

I need a botanist . A good one ! We had the good fortune of two of them visiting us . One was the page ( pronounced paa-gay ) family - Nuvendu was damn good ! The other was Nandan Kalbag . Wish we had atleast one of such treasures in Goa !

Meanwhile it is a painful trial and error . The wrong plants would invariablely sprout leaves instantly and the correct ones would shrivel and dry. And the ambitious butterfly breeding program takes a few steps behind.

Some of the success stories :

Southern Birdwings on some aristolochia plant ( maybe tagala or indica )

Tamil lacewings on passion fruit creeper

Giant Redeyes and palm fly on yellow palm

Common Mime on cinnamon

Blue Mormon on lemon and orange shrubs

Blue Tiger Moth on the freshwater mangrove

Monkey puzzle on Ixora

Red Pierrots on kalanchoe and bryophyllum

Baron on mango

Tawny Costers on passion flower

Common Mormons on curry leaves ( Murraya indica )

Yamfly on smilax

Lascar on zizypus.....and sailors on God knows what

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