Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hard fact: I'm a butterfly killer.

The other day, on my early morning (okay, it was almost 10 a.m.) check of the herbs, I spotted this beautiful creature on top of my parsley. She was hungry as well as lovely. There wasn't a parsley leaf left on the plant. I was furious.

The nearby dill plant was equally defrocked.

Since I'd been reading about hornworms, I flew into a frenzy. "Take a picture of this thing before I smash it," I snapped at Tony. His response: "You're crazy." (He says that to me a lot.)

So I took the photo myself, and then stepped on the...well, caterpillar. In my fury, I overlooked the fact that hornworms eat tomatoes. Caterpillars, I now know, love parsley and dill. In fact, people plant these herbs to attract butterflies to their gardens.

Now, I'm obsessing about what type of butterfly I smashed. If you know, please tell me so I can lay this misdeed to rest.


  1. Sigh. It was a Black Swallowtail:

  2. Oh man. I knew it was something beautiful. Thank you for letting me know. I still can't believe I reacted in such an uncharacteristic way. How did you know the type of caterpillar it was?

  3. Oh well, live and learn :-) As for me, I've done a lot of home-style research on prairie plants for the home landscape, and in doing so picked up info about various species of butterflies. Parsley and dill (fennel and rue too) are the go-to plants for the Black Swallowtail, so I always plant extra in my garden to share, and have been lucky to observe them throughout their stages, including metamorphosis -- neat stuff!