Zenfolio | Bruce Fellman | At the swallowtail bar

At the swallowtail bar

June 04, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

It was a banner year for an earlier-spring flowering shrub known as the Spicebush. It was a great 2017 for the plant's signature feeder, the caterpillars of the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. It wasn't a particularly bad year for blossoming Dame's Rocket, which is often the "first food" of the adult members of the Papilio troilus clan in our neighborhood. But though I kept close watch on those flowers and others that the butterfly has been known to enjoy, P. troilus has been notably absent. I needn't, as it turned out, have worried, because in the past few days, yet another probable result of the spring-that-wasn't receded into memory, as a hint of warmth returned, and the Spicebush Swallowtails started visited the flowers in, well, not droves exactly, but in typical numbers, which, around here, has been as many as six at a time. This one's on some petunias at a friend's garden center, but the butterflies are drinking nectar from our blooms as well. The worries are over.


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