between SW 8th St and SW 7th St
The Sulphur Butterfly and Senna Trees
Hey, don’t forget about me, I am one of Florida’s most common butterfly species! I’m the yellow sulphur Butterfly (Phoebis sennae) and like my atala and monarch butterfly friends, I have a host plant. Instead of it being the coontie or the milkweed, mine is the genus senna. Half of my scientific name, Phoebis sennae, is from Phoebe, meaning bright or shining in Greek. Sennae comes from the connection to the genus of the host plants.
Senna is a group of host plants that are actually related to bean plants called legumes! The genus senna tends to have shrubs and trees with yellow flowers. The toxin from the senna genus gives us the sulphur butterfly protection throughout the life cycle and is only poisonous to humans if ingested repeatedly.
Sulphur butterflies are special because we have a long tongue that reaches nectar in tubular flowers that other butterflies cannot reach (slurpees, anyone?).