The Modern Southern Garden: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly


The Modern Southern Garden

The Profile

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, papilio glaucous, is one of the most common species found between the spring & the fall months in the eastern portion of North America with a lifespan of approximately two weeks. In order to become the beautiful papillons gardeners look for once bloom time begins, the insects must transition in stages. Metamorphosis illustrates the lifecycle from the egg to the larva, those fuzzy little caterpillars you may spot here & there. Then, on to the pupa or chrysalis where the transformation actively takes place & finally on to the winged butterfly that emerges once complete. These beautiful garden visitors, in particular, may be found along forest edges, near rivers & in the suburbs from Ontario, Canada to the Gulf Of Mexico, then spanning as far west as central Texas with total coverage including approximately half of the United States. Learn how to invite these lovely butterflies into your garden.

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{helpful advice}

How To Attract Butterflies Into The Garden

From spring to fall, it isn’t uncommon to see a flutter of activity near gardens filled with nectar producing flowers. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies may be identified by their predominately yellow background with a black border & four black stripes on each wing. As caterpillars, this particular species begin as small little brown & white beings that transform over time into bright green creatures. Natural predators during the caterpillar stage include birds, lizards & sometimes humans.


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When the right type of trees & flowers are available in close proximity, you’re almost guaranteed to see these stunning butterflies. The caterpillars typically hatch from eggs on large, leaves filled with veins generally of the deciduous variety which give them a good environment for ample food & growth. These hosts typically include wild black cherry, sweet bay Magnolia, some maples, birch, willow & tulip trees. The adult Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, with a wingspan that can stretch up to 4 1/2-inches, feeds on nectar from many plants including lilac, Nanho Blue Buddleia or Nanho Purple Buddleia, New Gold LantanaJoe-Pye Weed, Milkweed & wild cherry so be certain these garden flowers, plants & trees are widely available on or near your grounds to aide in attracting them. 

The Tune
“Buttons & Bows” Dinah Shore

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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