Another reason to grow parsley

…or dill or fennel: swallowtail butterflies!

swallowtailcroppedA couple weeks ago, I noticed some swallowtails  winging around the front porch area where I have herbs growing in pots.

“I hope you guys are laying eggs on that parsley,” I told them. It seems that they listened. Last week, I noticed some tiny, black, fuzzy-looking caterpillars, each with a yellow band around its middle, on the parsley. I crossed my fingers and hoped they were what I thought they were. Yesterday, I saw the one above, finally grown into the familiar black-and-green-striped critter with yellow spots.

swallowtailcropped2The second photo shows two younger larvae. The larger of those is less than half the size of the larva featured in the first photo.

Most of the damage to the parsley visible in these pictures was actually the work of grasshoppers, a large number of whom have taken up residence in the front yard. I chased about five off the parsley yesterday before I thought to get my camera. (The droppings on the edge of the pot are theirs.)

Although I would happily forgo fresh parsley for the butterflies, the swallowtail larvae don’t seem to eat that much. I’ve never had a problem sharing with them. The grasshoppers, on the other hand, are not such courteous guests, though I’ve not seen them on the parsley before. I may have to explore ways to discourage them, but I will make certain it is not at the expense of the swallowtails.

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4 responses to “Another reason to grow parsley

  1. Grasshoppers are somewhat piggish when it comes to sharing. They don’t! I just wandered over frm Rurification where Robin has another method for attracting butterflies. But I wouldn’t want that floating in my soup… 😉

    • I’m very careful when harvesting herbs — I share my yard with a lot of critters, none of whom I want to find in anything I eat. I’ll have to check out what Robin has to say about butterflies; haven’t been to her site in a bit, so thanks for the nudge! 🙂

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