These creatures are so fascinating! My husband bought me a rue plant last spring. I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I started doing some research. I found out that it attracts black swallowtail butterflies and sure enough, by late June the plant was covered in little black caterpillars. They ate through almost the entire plant and then disappeared. Later, I was treated to quite a few butterfly sightings. The butterflies are absolutely breathtaking, too bad I couldn’t get a picture of one. I did, however, get a great video of a hungry caterpillar chomping away on the rue.
4 thoughts on “Black Swallowtail Caterpillars”
They are fascinating creature. We had one in the house last year, just wanted to see him become butterfly. It was quite an experience.
Dill, Fennel and Anise will attract swallowtails as well. If you plan to plant any of those three together, though, be aware that if they reseed themselves, the new plants will taste like Dil-nnel or Fen-ise or Dil-nell-ise or some combination. The pollinate each other.
I’ve grown carrots, parsley, and rue but have never had them flower. I have a second year parsley that came back, so I’ll keep an eye out!
I’m enjoying your blog very much. Parsley and carrots are biennial. If you cut a hole in a sealed envelope and cover the flower heads just as they are drying, you should be able to save your own seeds. Be sure to do a ‘viable seed test’ before storing them (or next year before planting them). I don’t often get around to saving my own seeds, but when I do, it’s particularly a good feeling. “Another smack in the chops of the industrial food complex!!” <— like that… Cheers!