Black Swallowtails Emerge from Our Garden
April 3, 2019
Right on schedule, the first of many black swallowtail butterflies, Papilio polyxenes, emerged from their chrysalises on March 20, 2019 near the Caretaker’s House. We removed the “cages” from the fennel so that the adults could fly off when their wings dried. If you missed our previous posts, you can read the first part of the story from egg here to chrysalis here. The adult butterflies only live for about two weeks, so visit our gardens today and maybe you’ll spot one of the butterflies from our Caretaker’s House garden!
The female black swallowtail will lay her eggs on a variety of herbs in the carrot family. Native host plants include mock bishopweed, Ptilimnium capillaceum, and roughfruit scaleseed, Spermolepis divaricata. In Florida’s residential areas, we often see the eggs on dill, fennel and parsley. In fact, our swallowtails emerged from their eggs laid on the dill plants, ate all the dill and then moved on to the fennel in the same raised garden bed. The caterpillars feasted on the fennel for several days and then formed their chrysalises within the fennel.
If you’d like to host your own black swallowtails, visit our Garden Shoppe and pick up some herbs to plant in your yard or container. We sell a variety of other butterfly host and nectar plants and have a beautiful butterfly garden on display so you can see what some of the bigger pollinator-friendly plants look like when full grown.