Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Plantpot Dapperling, Buck Moth Caterpillar, Ponyfoot weed, & Clover Mites


Plantpot dapperling, a beneficial fungus.
Photo: Lori Dupre.

Plantpot Dapperling

Lori found this specimen in her garden and asked, “I have another question for you today. I found these fungi in my raised bed where I grew cabbages over the winter. What is it and should it be of any concern for future planting? Do I need to perform any type of soil treatment??”

Mr. David Lewis, a professional mycologist with Texas A&M University, identified Lori’s mushrooms, “This is Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, common in potted plants and greenhouses. It is beneficial for the soil, so do not be concerned about that, however it is poisonous, so do not eat it.” This mushroom has two common names: flowerpot parasol and plantpot dapperling.


A closeup image of buck moth caterpillar.
Photo: Missy Liliedahl, Dry Creek, LA.

Buck Moth Caterpillar

Missy from Dry Creek sent this message with images, “I have enclosed some pictures. I have numerous trees that have these things in the trees and anything around the trees. I thought [these caterpillars may become] butterflies but [I am] not sure. If you could please let me know what you think.”

Ms. Victoria Bayless, Curator of the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, identified these caterpillars of the buck moth. The AgCenter has a publication entitled “Buck Moth Caterpillar,” and it discusses the venomous spines on this insect, “The spines found on the caterpillars are associated with venom glands that occur within the caterpillar's body. When stung, pain is immediate, with radiation to local lymphatic groups followed by localized itching, swelling and redness. Welts raised on the skin can remain visible for 24 hours to a week after a sting. Allergies to these stings have been documented, and people stung should be watched for any potential anaphylactic reactions. Localized contact dermatitis should subside between four to eight hours after being stung.”

NC Extension recommends these control measures, “Buck moth caterpillars are not particularly resistant to pesticides. Bacillus thuringiensis [Bt](on young caterpillars), Sevin™, or some other properly labeled insecticide should give more than adequate control.”


Pony foot or dichondra, a turf weed.
Photo: Jeff Zeringue, Alexandria, LA.

Ponyfoot weed

Jeff of Alexandria sent this exasperated email, “Here is a photo of some dollar-weed type of stuff in my yard that is expanding all over. How do I get rid of this? The standard weed treatment for southern lawns is not working. I have tried weed & feed and a spray. Nothing works!”

This weed is called “ponyfoot” or dichondra and is a warm season weed beginning to appear as the winter subsides and as spring emerges. The treatment for dichondra includes:

  • Correct fertility
  • Correct mowing height
  • Correct herbicide.

Louisiana Home Lawn Series: Dichondra is a downloadable publication from the LSU AgCenter, and it provides specific information about treating dichondra successfully.


Clover mites.
Photo: Judy Palin, Marksville, LA.

Clover Mites

Judy of Marksville shared an email and an image, “Great [Master Gardener] class today. Below are the red bugs I was asking about. [I] hope it comes through.”

Judy has clover mites (CMs), and Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate of Penn State Extension makes this summary about CMs, “Clover mites are plant feeders that occasionally invade homes. These mites do not attack people, and they will not reproduce under indoor conditions.”

Jacobs also recommend this treatment, “Control can be achieved by applying a spray of one of the registered insecticides to the exterior of the house up to the bottom of the first windows, as well as to all shrubs and to the lawn up to fifteen feet from the structure. When using a pesticide for this type of control, be sure that the material is labeled for the "site" (shrubbery, lawn, house exteriors, etc.). Misapplication could result in the staining of the home exterior or the burning of plant foliage.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits, and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

4/19/2022 3:49:42 PM
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