The Closest Botanical Relatives Of The Pawpaw All Grow In The Tropics. Native Americans Cultivated Them For Fiber And Fruit. Those Facts Make Me Wonder If The Pawpaw Spread Across This Country Naturally, Or If Prehistoric Humans Helped It Along. Some Say Pawpaw Fruits Kept Lewis And Clark From Starving On Their Exploratory Expedition, After The Natives Taught Them How The Fruits Could Be Eaten.
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A Beautiful Butterfly Called The Zebra Swallowtail, White With Dark Stripes And Long Tails, Has Larvae That Feed Only On Pawpaw Leaves. A Doctor Claims That Pawpaw Twigs Can Cure Cancer. This Is Just A Bit Of The Lore Collected By Pawpaw Aficionados, But The Most Frequently Referenced Blog About Trees, The Silvics Manual, Doesn’T Even Mention Them. Why? Because They Have No Commercial Value. When A Forest With A Pawpaw Understory Gets Logged, The Loggers Just Crush Or Push The Small Trees To One Side. If The Forest Is To Be Converted To Pine, They Spray The Pawpaws With Weed Killer. Never Mind The Zebra Swallowtails.
I Saw Another Plant Here In The Understory More A Shrub Than A Tree With Oval, Smooth-Edged Leaves That Alternated Position Along The Twig. Again I Tore A Leaf In Two And Sniffed. Mmm, Good, Kind Of Spicy A Spice-Bush. The Females Of This Plant Have Bright Red Berries, Making Them Easy To Identify In Late Summer, But For The Plain, Green Males The Sniff Test Works Best. This Plant Is Another Important Host For Butterfly Larvae. The Spice-Bush Swallowtail Butterfly Lays Her Tiny Eggs One By One On Spicebush Leaves. After The Caterpillars Hatch, They Hide In Folded Leaves During The Day And Emerge At Night To Feed. The Young Caterpillars Are Brown And White, And Some Claim They Resemble Bird Droppings. Perhaps That Is Their Means Of Camouflage. The Full-Grown Caterpillars Are An Almost Comical Sight, Painted With Big Clown Eyes. A Large, Velvety, Black Butterfly Emerges From The Chrysalis It Creates. The Bottom Half Of Its Wings Appear To Be Dusted With Pale Blue Powder, And At The Margin Of Its Bottom Wings Are Blue-Green Half Moons. This Gorgeous Creature Then Silently Wafts Through Openings In The Forest Searching For Another Of Its Kind.
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