One in Adelphi, Maryland, one in Wildwood, Florida, one at the US National Arboretum with a grandfatherly interest in many more around the DC area (unless noted, pictures are taken the day of post)
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Fasciata cercerisella: if your Cercis has leaves folded over and when you open them you see striped caterpillars, you've got it
This plant has it bad. The mature form of the larva is an inconspicuous, small, spotted moth. We see them every year about this time, or a few weeks later. I unfolded the leaf at the bottom and the silken ligatures they spun to cement the leaf halves together are clearly visible. They eat surface leaf tissue from the inside causing the light green damage on the left which, over time, dies leaving the oddly shaped brown necrotic areas at the right.
When they get big enough, they enclose themselves in silk, pupate, and break free as moths.