Hi! This is my new friend. His name is Wendell. He came from my friend Tamara’s organic farm! Discovering him was a very exciting moment. The farmer had told me that she’d seen these caterpillars that look like Monarchs on the Dill and the Carrot leaves. I went home and consulted my caterpillar text, because I am not nerdy AT ALL. I figured from the appearance and the food plants, which are both in the Carrot family, that it was my friend the Spicebush Swallowtail’s cousin, the Black Swallowtail.
I was at the farm about a week later, and a few hours after I’d arrived we started talking about the caterpillar. Or, more specifically, I mentioned the caterpillars and she exclaimed, “There’s one right here!”
Obviously from this point forward I got almost no work done.
The Black Swallowtail is a beautiful caterpillar. Its favorite food is reported to be Queen Anne’s Lace, which is actually Wild Carrot! This plant is naturalized in Eastern North America, meaning it came here with the Pilgrims and is basically a part of the ecosystem now, neither invading nor disappearing. What were Black Swallowtail populations like before this foreign food source arrived? Well, what were Italians eating before Columbus (‘s friends) brought the tomato back to Europe? One can only wonder.
This flower is an umbel, which is a word I like. And it is awfully pretty.