This past week I visited long time member David Kraemer to pick up some citrus that he propagated. Here he is with his new haircut and his lemon drop citrus tree (hybrid of a lemon and kumquat) that survived the winter storm.
While there I couldn't help but notice all the swallowtail caterpillars in his garden. The host plants of the Black Swallowtail butterfly include such plants as carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, Queen Anne's Lace and rue. The Anise Swallowtail caterpillar feeds on anise as well and reportedly citrus plants also.
The plants that adult butterflies eat (actually they “drink” nectar from the flowers) are called nectar plants. Each species of butterflies has specific host plants on which the adult butterflies lay their eggs.
The butterflies are particular about where they lay eggs because their caterpillars must have that distinct host plant to survive. The caterpillar will not eat if it does not have access to one of its specific host plants and will die. It's important that you leave some veggies for our butterfly friends.
David's Nigella, love-in-a-mist was blooming as well. This stunning annual garden flowering plant with ferny foliage that does well in alkaline soils. It belongs to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Nigella is generally considered to be an ornamental plant, but according to PFAF, the seed can be used raw or cooked, and is normally used as a condiment with a nutmeg-like flavor. It can also be used to produce an oil. The fresh leaves and flowers have a peppery flavor similar to watercress.
Check out David Kraemer's member profile on our YouTube channel.