Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The Swallowtail Butterfly and the Fennel Leaves

This exquisitely beautiful butterfly was never seen by us in the UK, in Norfolk where it was rare, but today it has been fluttering around a magnificent specimen of fennel in our garden and bending it's ovipostor towards the end of the branches of the fennel leaves whilst incessantly fluttering it's wings. As I stood motionless, watching it fly to and from the fennel plant, I willed it to land, all the time wondering what was the attraction because there are no flowers on the fennel. Then I remembered that two years ago we discovered two caterpillars on a different fennel plant and research verified that they were the caterpillars of the European Swallowtail butterfly. Here today was the adult laying her eggs onto the fennel plant. Such a wonderful thing to witness. I have decided not to take the leaves of this plant for our fish dishes as there are other fennel plants nearby and will watch to see if the caterpillars emerge and eat the delicate green fluttering frothy frondlike wands of the fennel then make their chrysalis which if nature guards them correctly will metamorphose into the adult butterfly. The cycle will be complete.

I will add a photo or photos later!

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