Black Swallowtail Butterfly

By: Meriel Bradley

The Black Swallowtail Butterfly is so beautiful with an impressive wingspan of about 4 inches.

It doesn’t land in one spot for very long so is quite hard to capture, but it finally landed in my vegetable garden on a mulch path just long enough for me to photograph it with its wings open.

Its caterpillars feed on plants in the carrot family which includes easy-to-grow plants such as dill, parsley, and carrots, but they must be pesticide-free as they are very sensitive to these chemicals during all stages of their life cycle. I plant all 3 in my vegetable garden plus extras for the butterflies to lay their eggs on. 

The caterpillar starts off resembling bird droppings, but after several molts, they turn into a stunning caterpillar. See my full post on Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

These butterflies are such a joy to watch and I highly recommend adding their host plants – pesticide-free – to attract them into your garden.

Quick Facts

The Black Swallowtail breeds in three areas of Canada  – in southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, in southern Ontario and southern Quebec, and across the Maritimes, with the exception of Newfoundland

Black swallowtails can be found in a wide variety of habitats — damp meadows, open fields, backyards, and cultivated farmland

Bring the Black Swallowtail into your garden by planting thistles, milkweed, and purple coneflower along with carrots, dill, fennel, and parsley, for the caterpillars – pesticide-free

Male black swallowtails are drawn to puddles for salts and other nutrients – this is called “puddling”

Do Your Part to Help

Create a pollinator habitat for butterflies – you will also be creating a habitat for hundreds of pollinator species, including bees, moths, and other butterflies

The perfect butterfly garden should be in a sunny sheltered spot, free of pesticides

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