EVERY YEAR SPRINGTIME I PLANT RUTA PLANTS TO ATTRACT THE OLD WORLD SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY
Almost every year I succeed to have eggs and grow its caterpillars. The process is fast forward and fun. I would like to inspire you to try. At the end of the process you can enjoy the freshly emerging butterflies for a full day and help wildlife to thrive.
The Swallowtail can be found almost everywhere in the northern hemisphere: Asia, Middle East, Europe, Britain, Russia, and North America. It is a stunning beauty and can be a regular visitor at our window sell.
Papilio machaon butterfly has had received its name from a Greek figure in the Iliad. Machaon son of Asclepius who led an army in the Trojan war on the side of the Greeks. The butterfly has a fast and strong flight, males often gather and battle over the females' attention.
They sip nectar from flowering herbs and lay their eggs on plants of the Machaonia and Rubiaceae families.
IN GARDENS AND WINDOW SELLS IT IS FAIRLY EASY TO ATTRACT BUTTERFLY BY PLANTING RUTA CHALEPENSIS, FENNEL AND DILL
Every year there are two to three broods. The first stage is small white eggs on the plants which snatch into small black bird droppings like caterpillars. The larval form eats only the soft leaves. In few weeks the caterpillars grow bigger and become splendorous green with black stripes and orange dots. They are fairly beautiful and enjoyable.
At this stage they have protection from other insects, but birds easily can pick them off. What I tend to do is to use a fine netting and create a small nursery with plenty of food.
When they reach 4.5 cm long, the caterpillars in a single night become pupae.
DEPENDING ON THE TEMPERATURE IN TWO TO THREE WEEKS THEY EMERGE AS BUTTERFLY
For a whole day and night, butterflies stay put drying their wings which is spectacular beauty. Then they pick up on the wind and fly away to be free and to start the cycle all over again.