May 23 2010
I have several Black Swallowtail butterflies that visit my garden every summer. I am certain that they are not the same butterflies, because butterflies don’t usually live that long. Somehow they always seem to find their way to the butterfly bushes and the zinnias. I believe that they like them better than any of the other flowers in my garden. They will spend hours just going from flower to flower in search of the nectar that they need. I always plant plenty of Zinnias in my butterfly garden each spring, because I know if I plant it, they will come.
I also always try to plant parsley each spring, because it is the Black Swallowtail butterfly’s host plant; and I know that the Black Swallowtail Butterfly will lay her eggs on it. Once they hatch out The Black Swallowtail caterpillars in my butterfly garden really do love to eat my parsley plants; and that is perfectly fine with me, because they are the only ones I grow it for. Personally, I don’t care for the taste at all!
The Black Swallowtail larva are found on parsley so much that some people call them parsley worms. The caterpillars eat their fill of the parsley plants, and then they will turn themselves into a chrysalis. In just a little while, the chrysalis will break open and they emerge as more Black Swallowtail butterflies!
So many things in nature seem to cycle around. The mature Black Swallowtail Butterflies lay their eggs on the parsley plants, and then the caterpillars will hatch out and eat their fill of the parsley.Once they have grown large enough they turn into a chrysalis. When they emerge from the chrysalis they will have become adult Black Swallowtail butterflies. They in turn will repeat the cycle and lay more eggs.
I am happy to play my part and plant the parsley every year to help them with their journey through life. The Black Swallowtail butterflies, and all of the other butterflies add such beauty and serenity to my garden it seems the least I could do. I hope they will always consider my butterfly garden as their home.