Butterfly and Texas Lilac

On the left is a butterfly I would like to identify. Its wings are closed but you can see the orange & black coloring on the wing. This is the second blooming of the texas lilac this year.
q butterfly and texas lilac, flowers, gardening, pets animals, Butterfly on left grey with orange black marking
Butterfly on left (grey with orange & black marking)
  32 answers
  • Ellen H Ellen H on Aug 18, 2012
    Look up Eastern Tailed Blue and Hairstreaks - it might be one of those.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 19, 2012
    I think Ellen is right. If the wings are a grey-blue when opened it is an Eastern-tailed blue, Everes comyntas. Glad to see your vitex doing what it's supposed to: attract bees and butterflies.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 19, 2012
    Oh my goodness, I haven't seen one of these in decades! I'd forgotten all about them. Beautiful particularly in compliment to the lilac. Sherrie, would you post a pic of your lilac plants? I'd like to see more of them.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 19, 2012
    Ellen H, it absolutely is a gray hairstreak butterfly. Before your post I looked everywhere & couldn't find anything to match my butterfly. Thank you so very much!! Becky H, the plant is reblooming & just started so I'll wait till the flowers turn lilac early next week. They start out a grey color and then turn lovely lilac.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 19, 2012
    Thanks Sherrie. I have lavender but have never tried lilac. I take it you've had great success with it.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 19, 2012
    Becky H, you're lucky you didn't try a lilac because it would not have lived in Florida . This is a TEXAS lilac that does grow here. I only bought a 2 gallon plant (I think in May) and it is reblooming now.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 19, 2012
    Sherrie, where did you acquire your "Texas" lilac?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 20, 2012
    Becky, Sherrie's "Texas" lilac is Vitex agnus-castus, or chaste tree. They are a great shrub/small tree for Florida as well. They need sun and a good amount of space as they can get quite large. A good local nursery should have them. I drove to Jacksonville to get mine because I like plant road trips and because I wanted a bigger one than my local nursery had, but they do grow pretty fast. They can easily be limbed up like a crepe myrtle or a Ligustrum.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 20, 2012
    Thanks Douglas; I'll pull it up on the internet and take a close look at it.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 20, 2012
    Becky H, I have a local nursery called Debary Nursery. Since I always loved the lilac but they couldn't be grown in Florida I was so happy when Douglas Hunt posted about this Texas Lilac.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 24, 2012
    Becky H, I haven't posted the Texas Lilac picture because it likes sun for it to turn lilac and it has rained everyday. The plant starts out a gray color and then turns lilac.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 24, 2012
    Well Sherrie, it's nice to hear someone is getting rainfall besides us!! I'm watching with amusement to see if the Republican reps. will have to evacuate next week. Our ground is so saturated anything this storm brings will be sitting above ground. I have begun a search for the Texas Lilac around the Tampa Bay Area. Really don't want to have to drive too far North or E. to get one. Not to worry though, I am a patient person, and can wait for photos and to find the plant.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 25, 2012
    Becky, you might call Sun City Tree Farm, a wholesaler in Ruskin, and see if there is a nursery near you that they have supplied plants to. They grow "Shoal Creek," which is a fine cultivar of Vitex.

  • Becky H Becky H on Aug 25, 2012
    Thanks for the tip Douglas! I shall do that.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Aug 29, 2012
    This plant is only a few months old and is a butterfly & bee magnet.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 30, 2012
    Great photo, Sherrie!

  • Laurie Laurie on Jul 07, 2013
    The "Texas Lilac" or Chaste Tree has been listed as INVASIVE IN TEXAS. Unfortunately, this lovely likes to reseed any place it can and has been spotted in many of our state parks. It will out compete much of the native vegetation. Check your states invasive lists before planting anything. Many people here in TX think this is native because of it regularly being called TX Lilac, but it is an Asian import.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jul 07, 2013
    @Laurie all I have seen with this plant is really lovely. It does't seem to make additional plants but it does get larger each year. Maybe the texas lilac in texas and my texas lilac are different.

  • Hope Galloway Hope Galloway on Jul 07, 2013
    I have the Chaste Tree too but I live in North Carolina its about 8 ft tall and has no invasive tendencies in the years that Ive had it . It does have alot of new growth on it so I prune it into the desired tree that I like want every fall or early spring. I first saw the Chaste Tree when my husband and oldest son were in the USMC and stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC. They were very beautiful when in full bloom and covered in bees, butterflies, & bird nests.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 08, 2013
    @Laurie , I am surprised that a plant would be considered an invasive and also found as part of Texas A&M's "Texas Superstars" plant program: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/cemap/plumbago/plumbago.html I have a "Shoal Creek" vitex and it has been a great plant for me. I deadhead after blooming, which encourages rebloom and ensures there won't be a problem with seeding.

  • Laurie Laurie on Jul 08, 2013
    hi Doug, I too have been surprised to see it on the superstar list. See here on the Texis invasive site http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=VIAG

  • Laurie Laurie on Jul 08, 2013
    The thing with invasive plants is this. First of all, there is a big difference between INVASIVE and AGGRESSIVE. I am a TX Master Gardener and am shocked at how many MG's don't even know there is a difference. Many plants can be aggressive and never be invasive. For my area, morning glory is very aggressive but is not invasive. Now, some might say, "I've been pulling that morning glory out of my yard for years and can't get rid of it. It sure is INVASIVE." Nope, it is AGGRESSIVE. INVASIVE means that when it escapes our nicely groomed yards and gets out in the wild where nothing is mowed, weeded or otherwise managed, it can cause ecological harm. That harm may be to the native plants, animals or insects, it is changing the native ecology. In the case of Vitex agnus-castus, she is very well behaved in our yards here in the DFW area but when her many seeds are blown or swept in waterways or carried by birds, she ends up in natural areas and because she grows so fast, she will shade out the seeds of natives so they can't germinate and will out compete native flora. The native insects and animals are all defendant on native vegetation. It's just like all those big snakes from Asia that you have problems with in Florida. Difference is one is plant and one is animal. If you go here: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/invasives.html They do a great job of explaining what an invasive plant is. The truth is the big box stores as well as many, many private nurseries carry and sell plants that are invasive. I had a lovely Vitex agnus-castus that I had to remove last year when I learned it was invasive. Learning more about what is invasive, thus causing harm to the land we all love as gardeners is something we all need to get better at, being that the nursery trade is not being responsible about it. There are many lovely plants I'd love to have but have, but I've decided to use natives as much as I can and to research as much as I can before planting an import. I don't have children or grandchildren, but if I did I wouldn't want them to have to clean up the mess I made. :-)

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 08, 2013
    Since I grow crossvine and trumpet vine, I am well aware of aggressive growers. I'll have to keep a watch on my vitex. It's so hard to find things that do well here near the beach that I would hate to think of having to give up such a handsome, pollinator-attracting plant.

  • Laurie Laurie on Jul 08, 2013
    Doug, you and I have such different climates as far as the beach goes! I can't even imagine a body of water that isn't man made. LOL Our biggest problem is probably the tight water restrictions with being in a constant drought. This part of the country will probably end up with very little or no water for landscapes in the next decade or so.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jul 08, 2013
    @Douglas Hunt I've had my vitex about 2 years & I haven't seen it spreading around the yard. I hope it doesn't because it is beautiful and draws butterflies, hummers and bees & it smells so nice. It does grow fast. I'll be watching what it does next.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 08, 2013
    I'm with you, Sherrie.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on May 11, 2014
    @Douglas Hunt - I've had my Vitex almost 3 years now and it is NOT invasive. It does grow fast. I think It should be blooming in about 2 weeks. After blooming we cut about 1/3 of it and it blooms again. Then one more cutting and it will bloom the third time.

    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 12, 2014
      @Sherrie S I have not seen any sign of invasive tendencies, either. But I think the fact that we both deadhead after blooming greatly reduces the amount of seed produced.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on May 12, 2014
    I do it so it reblooms 3 times a year and to keep it nice and compact @Douglas Hunt I've never seen the seed so I'll look for it this year.

  • Cherie Cherie on Jan 15, 2015
    This is a strange posting! I have a vitex that's been growing for 8 years, no spreading, no off-shoots, and very well behaved and beautiful!!! We have 2 acres and it has come up no where else. And, I also have a Sweet Autumn Clematis that stays in place also and has never tried to take over the rest of the flower bed like the one I had in St Louis. I live in Texas and it has been rather dry so maybe that's why neither of these has done any of the things Laurie has experienced! I never prune either of them! But my Passion Vine wants to engulf the yard! Strange!

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jan 15, 2015
    Hey @Cherie you and I agree that this is a beautiful plant that is not invasive and looks like a lilac. Mine is the real Texas Vitax. Maybe some have clones. I, too, have 2 acres. I have found the best plants when I get them from Texas, including water lilies.

  • Judy Leider Judy Leider on Apr 09, 2015
    the butterfly is a Coral Hairstreak! I love your photo!

  • Sherrie Slaboda Sherrie Slaboda on Apr 09, 2015
    Thank you @Judy Leider for the butterfly ID. I love that plant, too.