Saturday, August 25, 2007

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

These Giant Swallowtails are so large I sometimes think they must be birds. They're finicky insects, and easily spooked -- thus difficult to photograph, as evidenced by my weak pictures.

Late-summer is far and away the best time for butterflies in Central Florida: My garden is full of Giant Sulfurs (drawn by a cassia), Zebra Longwings, a few Monarchs, and lots of Swallowtails of different sorts. Mid-mornings I usually have a dozen or more flitting about.

This one was drawn to the Russelia (Russelia rotundifolia) I got from Biosphere Nursery last summer. I really dislike the deeply-cut Russelia most people grow (Firecracker Plant, Coral Plant), but I like this species well enough. It blooms late in the season, and last year continued to bloom until January. I should try to start some cuttings...

An update: This Russelia has really started to bloom, and I've never seen a plant that attracts more butterflies. This morning it had three Zebra Longwings, a Monarch, a Swallowtail of some sort (I think a Black Swallowtail, but I didn't get a good look). And a few Sulfurs, who were there I think for the Cassia. They were all there at the same time. Fighting over a sip from the Russelia.

No comments: