Take a peek at Spring 2011

I know, I know, in my last post I was praising the transition into autumn, so why the rush to spring all of a sudden? Ellen, why so fickle? you must be thinking. Well, our spring 2011 catalogs have arrived, that’s why. You don’t have to open it if you’re not ready. I understand. One season at a time. That’s perfectly reasonable.


Get a load of this awesome catalog cover :

cute or creepy?

In case you’re wondering, that is, according to photographer David Blevins, “a palamedes swallowtail caterpillar preparing to pupate on a red bay leaf.” Now say that really fast five times in a row.

The photo comes from Blevins’s book with Michael P. Schafale, Wild North Carolina: Discovering the Wonders of Our State’s Natural Communities, which we’ll publish in April 2011. That’s a long time to wait, I know, so until then, you can get to know Blevins through his blog. In fact, he’s written about our catalog cover and the palamedes swallowtail caterpillar preparing to pupate on a red bay leaf over there already:

These are common butterflies in pocosins or other areas that have their favorite host plants. The caterpillars feed only on plants in the laurel family. In North Carolina that means mostly red bay (Persea borbonia) but could also include swamp bay (Persea palustris) and possibly sassafras (Sassafras albidum).

The caterpillars eat red bay leaves almost exclusively and even wrap themselves inside red bay leaves for protection when they are ready to pupate. The photograph shows a caterpillar as it begins to use silk to curl a red bay leaf around itself.

Although this is one of the most common butterflies in the coastal plain of North Carolina, it is threatened by an introduced disease that is killing its host plant. [Read the full post.]

You can also connect with Blevins and Schafale on Facebook, where they’ll keep you up to date with how the book’s progressing, give you event info, and share cool stuff about North Carolina plant and animal life.

We’ll be introducing you to other books in the spring catalog in due time. But if you want a sneak peek at what’s coming, you can browse the catalog online (PDF).