Artistry in Nature – Spicebush Caterpillar

It has been over eleven years since we became the caretakers of this sliver of paradise. Piece by piece we have exposed the bones of the landscape and nurtured the earth to help her grow into her current state of equilibrium.

  Most days something unique crosses my path. More recently a camera accompanies me and I am honored to capture the unique, the beautiful, and sometimes the frightening. But one creature has alluded me these many years.  I’ve seen the fruition of transformation but I’ve never encountered this creature in its larval stage until now.

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflu

And I must thank my Maddie for this chance encounter. She ventured into the woods with me but was reluctant to return.

Maddie in the woods

I had to go in to retrieve her and there by her side was a Spicebush seedling with the elusive creature clinging to one of its leaves.



I hope you find this creature as amazing as I do. I feel it could have stepped out of the App Pokemon Go!

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar



Butterflies that Grace the Garden – 4

The fourth in the series of photographs featuring butterflies that lived amongst  the flowers of Valley View.

The following photographs were taken on May 31st, 2011. This Spicebush butterfly frequented the Wine and Roses Weigla growing on a southwestern facing slope in the garden. It is an area of the garden where the warmth of the afternoon sun encourages a myriad of insects to come out and play!  

Spicebush Swallowtail
Papilio troilus Linnaeus

Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Papilioninae
Identification: Upper surface of forewing is mostly black with ivory spots along margin. Upper surface of hindwing has orange spot on costal margin and sheen of bluish (female) or bluish-green (male) scales. Underside of hindwing with pale green marginal spots.
Wing Span: 3 – 4 inches (7.5 – 10 cm).
Life History: Males patrol in woods, roads and woodland edges to find receptive females. Females lay single eggs on underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars live in shelters of folded-over leaves and come out to feed at night. Some chrysalids from each generation hibernate.
Flight: 2 generations per year from April-October. In Florida, several generations between March-December.
Caterpillar Hosts: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), sassafras trees (Sassafras albidum); perhaps prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), and redbay (Persea borbonia).
Adult Food: Nectar from Japanese honeysuckle, jewelweed, thistles, milkweed, azalea, dogbane, lantana, mimosa, and sweet pepperbush.
Habitat: Deciduous woodlands, fields, roadsides, yards, pine barrens, wooded swamps, and parks.
Range: Eastern states from southern Canada to Florida; west to Oklahoma and central Texas. Occasionally strays to North Dakota, central Colorado, and Cuba.


Thank you for dropping by. If you’re so inclined, please let me know what you think.  Leave a comment or tell me if you like this post.

Be sure to stop back to view new images of butterflies in and around the garden!

Enjoy your day

Magnified Mondays – 6

Time – it is fleeting.  Where did the time go?  One week off to work in the garden and little time to work inside!  Today’s pictures are of the flora and fauna that passed through the lens when I had the camera in hand. Most of the time it was in my pocket!   ENJOY . . .

Walnut Sphinx Moth

Spicebush butterfly on Weigela



Red Blood Maple seeds on hosta