!Citrus Camouflage

!!zanthoxylum clava herculis w giant swallow by kg
Ken Gonyo (Class of 2012) sent this photo of a well-camouflaged giant swallowtail butterfly (Papilio cresphontes) chrysalis on his hercules club (Zanthoxylum clava herculis).

Giant swallowtail butterflies complete 2 or 3 generations in Florida and in their 5 larval (caterpillar) stages (instars) feed on plants in the citrus family (Rutaceae). Hence, the commercial citrus industry considers them to be pests.

Hercules club is deciduous native tree that can grow to be 65′ tall with conspicuous spines (especially in its younger years) …
!!!!zanthoxylum-clava-herclis-(3)
Older trunks develop distinctive protuberances that eventually become spineless …
!!!zanthoxyoum-clava-herculis-w-licehn
Also known as toothache tree due to the numbing effects of gently chewed (& not swallowed) leaves, Hercules club leaves contain aromatic (lemony) oils. Note the pellucid dots shown here …
!!!zanthoxylum-calava-herculis-2
Brand new leaves are often reddish …
!!!!zanthoxylum-clava-herculis-(6)
Flowering takes place in the spring or early summer …
!!!!zanthoxylum-clava-herculis-(4)
Fruits appear in the late summer or fall shown below in a picture taken by Karen Schuster at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge …
!!!zanthoxylum-clava-herculis-by-k-schuster
When ripe, each fruit capsule will be tan and will contain a shiny black seed that is spread by birds. Hercules club can be a wonderful landscape addition to attract birds & butterflies to your yard.

At the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, it was planted in 1998 near the DOT ditch which you traverse to gain access to the main east-west trail. Seedlings have been found growing at the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, a testimony to its drought tolerance.

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