Tag Archives: Papilio polyxenes

Spicebush Swallowtail

First Appearance in Our Garden

We have two types of Swallowtail butterfly in our garden every summer, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) and the Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).  I raised a Black Swallowtail caterpillar in the house last year hoping to see it’s stages of transformation.  It became a butterfly in early winter which was too late to find food anywhere aside from what bloomed in the basement.  He was clearly a late bloomer, if you’ll pardon the play on words.  I hope to do it again this year but earlier in the season.  I have been looking for a caterpillar up and down the Dills and Parsleys, their favorite food, but have seen none so far.  I guess the birds have done too good of a job.

To my delight last week, I spotted a black-winged swallowtail.  When I looked closely however, it turned out to be a Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus).  This is the first time I have seen a Spicebush Swallowtail in the garden.  I saw another one yesterday.  It’s a great addition to our garden, but I still miss the Black Swallowtail , none of whom have shown themselves yet this year.  I still have my hopes up though since it’s only August.

Spicebush Swallowtail on Garden Phlox.
On another Phlox
Easter Tiger Swallowtail on Butterfly Bush
The Black Swallowtail I raised in the house last year.