Monday, June 1, 2009

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly

My mom took me for a visit to South Seminole Farm & Nursery where I bought a host plant for the Eastern Black Swallowtail. I was able to watch it as it laid tiny eggs on the leaves of it’s host plant.


By looking at this picture you can see how fast Black Swallowtails move their wings. It took a bit of waiting before it finally stopped long enough for me to take a picture! This butterfly has landed on a Fennel plant to lay eggs.

dill plants parsley

Some gardeners think of the Black Swallowtail caterpillar as a pest because they feast on certain herbs. But I grow my herbs for these butterflies to lay eggs on! If you would like Black Swallowtails in your garden plant either parsley, dill, fennel, or Queen’s Anne’s lace. Just make sure no Bt or any other pesticide has been sprayed on your herbs and you will soon have some munching caterpillars in your garden.

Black Swallowtail egg

Look how tiny the Black Swallowtail’s egg is compared to my finger! It is so amazing how this tiny egg will grow into a beautiful butterfly. If this egg safely hatches, I will post pictures of the caterpillar as it grows. I have been praying each night that I would be able to raise a Black Swallowtail Butterfly from egg to chrysalis and God is answering my prayers!


  1. I am trying again, as I gave up earlier in trying to send my cheers and encouragement for your Eastern Black Swallowtail (EBS) and know you will, too. Nature sings in all seasons here in Indiana, but my cyber system zings sometimes, just because it goes into foreign language. I didn't know about the profile but "Anonymous" seems to fit. Yes, I LOVE EBS and their larval host which is, for me, easier to provide than milkweed for Monarchs. (Our one patch completely disappeared last year with a sweeoubg invasion of Japanese Knotweed). Swallowtails have been such a joy for me and the kids in my world. (See some of them on my Facebook account (new today) I am a retired teacher with a "Yarden," we call Earthday Gardens, a registered wildlife habitat where everyday is Earth Day. I take nature to school kids or they come here on field trips--butterfly stages, tadpoles, turtles, praying mantids, etc. I have had Swallowtail emerge in 9 days-- midsummer, and in 9 months--the last generation of the summer. I have taken larvae to my grandson's school in NYC where the kids were so cooncerned in waiting for one to emerge--in mid May. A few years ago a butterfly graced us here in the kitchen when I least expected it--the day before our Earth Day Festival downtown. It was the star attraction at our Indiana Organic Gardeners booth, as that is way earlier for Hoosier critters, except for unusual April weather. My favorite larval host is Bronze Fennel but parsley, Queen Anne's Lace and carrots are magnetic for the young EBS. I never have found their eggs; that is much easier with Monarchs. We find second instar in abundance and pray the WOW prayer* of gratitude when we consider how the camouflage protection is so beautifully designed to match the snack bar plants.
    * (form two "W" in sign language with a WOWish-mouth"O", then sign Thanks God (or Mom for school visits. Try to CHEER! without any sound! I work for WOW's. Name's Rosie, but Anonymous seemed to send for me.

  2. How exciting, Elizabeth! Were you able to grow them into butterflies? How kind of God to draw your attention to this butterfly just as she was laying her eggs!
    We live just south of you in NW Cape Coral. Last week we found Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars in our herb garden devouring our parsley. We brought them into the house in our netted butterfly habitat. This is our first time trying to raise any caterpillars into butterflies. My 5 and 3 year olds are fascinated! (And so am I!)
    We are trying to memorize 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." We think that the process of metamorphosis is a beautiful picture of the beautiful transformation a person undergoes when Jesus changes their heart!

    1. Yes, they turned into beautiful butterflies. Thank you for sharing this great comment. I love Jesus and desire to glorify him with everything I do and the talents He has given me. I love 2 Corinthians 5:17 and it has such an amazing message of hope.