Foot Ball Lily.

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Debasish Joardar

Jun 26, 2007, 12:39:26 PM6/26/07
Attaching pictures of Foot Ball Lily and Lily Caterpillars.
Foot Ball Lily
Common Name: Foot Ball Lily, Powder Puff Lily,
Scientific Name : Haemanthus multiflorus.
Family : Amaryllidaceae.
The plant is native of Africa.
It blooms only once a year, in the month of April-May. After flowering stage completed the fresh leaves appears and plants grows till November/December. Then the leaves dried up and the bulb remains dormant till the sunlight becomes bright.
Foot Ball Lily and Lily Caterpillar
On 07/10/2006, while working in my garden, I found these caterpillars lying on the soil adjacent to some Ball Lily plants. I took a closer look on them and noticed that huge excrements (pale white in colour) were lying around those plants. The colour of the excrement gave me a clue that they must have feed on the Ball Lily plants. I found some damage on the bulbs and portion of juicy stems adjacent to the bulb.
Some interesting behaviour noticed:
 a) One Caterpillar was digging the soil like an earthworm. Perhaps they were searching bulbs in the soil. 
b) Another caterpillar was almost hiding itself under the soil only keeping its head up on the level of the soil.
Later the caterpillars were identified as brightly spotted common lily caterpillars, which often defoliate lilies. These caterpillars borrow underground to pupate in mud cells.
These caterpillars are of great concern to the lily cultivators.
Debasish Joardar.

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