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Leea - a butterfly magnet

Leea - a butterfly magnet

Aggregation of small butterflies on single plant
Its Hindi Name is Hathikana as the leaves of this plant are quite big. Its Marathi name is rather misleading. Leaves are eaten as famine food [1]. Plant can grow upto two meters.Flowers, white in color, are small in size , around 1 to 2 mm, occurs singly at the end of small branch. 

Relation with Butterflies:

Flowering is seen from August end till December and depends strongly on the availability of water in the soil. As flowering coincides with the boom of butterflies, its not surprising that its one of favorite food plant of butterflies, specially small ones. Butterflies like Common Pierrot, Angled Pierrot, Chestnut bob, White snow flat, silver-line etc. Species with large wing-span like tigers are also regular visitor for nectoring. On a rare occasion  Spot swordtail, not known for nectoring, was seen nectoring on this flower. This situation is advantageous for butterfly photography. Many species are found on single plant. And still there is no chaos, none of individual is in hurry like what happens while mud-puddling. Individual attains single flower for long time and gives enough time to capture a descent photo.

Chestnut bob

Few tips for butterfly photography:

  • Careful not to touch any part of the plant, as it shakes whole plant and disturbs the aggregation.
  • Try to find a plant with florescence occurring at exactly eye-level, as its the best angle.


Quick Facts:

Common name: Hathikana, Leea 

Regional Names:
Hindi: हाथीकाना Hathikana
Marathi: गजकर्णी Gajakarni, Dinda 
Sanskrit: समुद्रिका Samudrika, Jino

Botanical name: Leea macrophylla 
Family: Leeaceae (Leea family)
Synonyms: Leea integrifolia, Leea latifolia



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