Mile-A-Minute Weed

Miz Flora asked us to put out a warning to all you humans: if you see this plant with the triangular leaves, pull it immediately.


Mile-A-Minute, Persicaria perfoliata, is a vine that will take over ‘in a minute’. Not really, but you get the idea. It is an invasive that Miz Flora is twitching her tail over. She’s seeing it more and more and is very disturbed to think all of Virginia might be covered with it.

The vine appears rather delicate, but has many little teeth along its stem, and triangular leaves.

Mile-A-Minute Weed Leaves

Very triangular leaves.

Mile-A-Minute Weed Leaves

We could go into all the details, but Miz Flora says this website does it much better:

Thanks for your help in removing this invasive plant!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there, have a look at what I spotted in the neighborhood drive this week—and I don’t mean the whitewash!

Mystery # 66

Any guesses what those little balls are?


This is caterpillar frass…in other words, the poop of caterpillars. Caterpillars eat only leaves, so their frass is pretty much dry and hard. And they have lots of it, because all caterpillars do is eat until they grow big enough to change to butterflies. This frass is the size of cherry pits, meaning the caterpillar is huge, probably a Hickory Horned Devil, but neither Nutmeg or I wanted to venture out to the tips of the tree branches to find him.

If you’re wondering how I could tell this was frass instead of dirt balls or seeds, look closely at them. Frass has little ridges, like pumpkins do.


Hidden Caterpillar

Hickory and I saw movement in a garden bed as we ran past. By pushing aside some parsley, we spotted a caterpillar deep in the foliage.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar

A check with our resources told us this is a Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar. We carefully covered him up again—it’s a good hiding spot form those House Wrens who try to eat every bug in sight.