"Bees sip honey from flowers and hum their thanks when they leave. The gaudy butterfly is sure that the flowers owe thanks to him." ~ Rabindranath Tagore, Stray BirdsTiger swallowtail butterflies regularly visit the lantana and lavender for nectar around our house. They are larger than the black swallowtail and fly high into the trees of the preserve. Host plants for the caterpillars are primarily trees and shrubs such as the tulip tree, sweet bay, wild black cherry, ash, lilac, aspen, birch, or choke cherry and we don't have any in our yard, but at least one of these trees should be out in the preserve. After the experience with fennel and black swallowtails, I'm glad we don't have the host plants.
This has been a bumper year for butterflies here. Perhaps the heat, perhaps planting the flowers.. who knows exactly why, but there have been at least ten different varieties of butterflies in our yard... sometimes all at the same time. I love to sit on the deck and watch as two or three flit and dance together in mid-air or tease me by flying around my head. Unbelievable beauty in such a delicate package. Amazing!
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