Cassia Butterflies

You can see them coming from a distance, flying erratically from side to side with their bright yellow wings. These are the Sulfur butterflies that are not as common as the Gulf Fritillary or Monarchs but are so special to watch.  The Clouded is the most common in Florida and can be seen throughout the year.  Other Sulfurs are the Orange, Giant Orange and the Orange-barred Sulfur.

Caterpillar food are legumes (pea family) especially the Cassias. Popcorn Cassia is my favorite because it will flower all year long with brilliant stalks of bright yellow flowers on a 5 to 8 foot bush.  A fast grower, but can easily be whacked back if needed.  Kids get a great kick out of this plant-a conversation piece, because it smells like buttered popcorn when you rub the leaves.  Bahama Cassia is a smaller bush than the Popcorn Cassia and blooms off and on throughout the year with smaller yellow flowers.  Both of these can be a great addition to your garden giving a splash of yellow that is hard to find with other plants.  Make sure to include some nectar plants like bulbine, portweed, salvias, lantana, and penta, to keep these yellow beauties around.