As a gardener, you probably know every nook and cranny of your garden. Then one day, as you look down at your plants, SHAZZAM!
There it is; a new visitor!Today marks the first time I've had a black swallowtail caterpillar here in the garden. Why now? Because IF YOU PLANT IT THEY WILL COME. Butterflies endlessly move about searching for that special plant to lay their eggs. In the case of these black swallowtails, the magic plant was RUE.
Here's what I found today on the rue.
Rue is a gray green, finely textured herb. It's right in the front in this picuture of my garden. It's beautiful with other plants like these agaves.
Here's the adult black swallowtail compliments of Wikipedia.
I get this one confused with my other beautiful visitors, the Spicebush and the Giant swallowtail
since all three fly around very quickly!
Here's the Spicebush. Our camphor tree attracts these daily.
(another photo from Wikipedia)
Here's the caterpillar of the Spicebush Swallowtail on the camphor tree in our garden. Usually they are found only on the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). However, the non-native Camphor tree ( Cinnamomum camphora) down here in the Deep South can also play host to the Spicebush due to similar chemical messages inside the leaves. It's odd, but I've seen it with my own eyes.
The Spicebush has several instars. Each time it changes in appearance dramatically.
Here's a view from another website:
And if you REALLY want to know about the Spicebush Swallowtail, here ya go:
And the last of the trio, the Giant Swallowtail. Our neighbors grow citrus and that's why they are always around.
Here it is! This was from last summer when it emerged from a chrysalis in our window.It's less than one day old in this photo.
And of course if you plant milkweed, you'll get these; the beautiful caterpillars of the Monarch.
This is my best photo ever of a monarch. It was a cool day and it was just wanting to rest.
Hope you get some great butterflies this summer.
Thanks for stopping by.