Friday, 22 April 2016

A Garden Visitor 4

Among the branches of our mandarin tree, this impressive butterfly flitted and fluttered before pausing, only briefly, to lay eggs under the leaves. She is an Orchard Swallowtail and she is rather beautiful.

An Orchard Swallowtail lays an egg under a mandarin leaf.

These swallowtails are the largest of all the butterflies that grace our garden. Their magnificent size and colourful wings hold one's attention as they hover, wings beating rapidly, around the citrus trees. 

Over the years, we have observed many times the life cycle of this stunning butterfly. The emergence of an Orchard Swallowtail from its chrysallis is a truly wondrous thing that can hold one spellbound. 

If you have time over the coming weekend, you might like to witness this incredible metamorphosis too through the stunning photos and video at this YouTube link. The images and accompanying music are beautiful.

Have a lovely weekend.


  1. My husband spotted one of those on a recent walk with the dog, he said it was as big as his hand. He took a photo of it and shared it on Facebook to see if anyone knew what it was, one of his FB friends commented that you don't see many of them these days because everyone sprays their citrus trees. They are stunning.

    1. They are an impressive size. It's such a shame that they are impacted by spraying. I don't use any sprays on my garden so that creatures like these, and my tiny native bees, are happy here.

  2. It's beautiful. We've had the big yellow and black that I can't remember the name of and a black one with brown and blue spots in the last week. I love all of them but hate the cocoons they leave on the fruit trees, especially the cherry and peach.

    1. Hi Rita. Whenever I find a caterpillar happily gnawing away on the leaves of my plants, I have to remind myself that one day soon it will be a butterfly! Meg:)