Tiger Swallowtail Visits Chokecherry in Bloom
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is one of the more common and easily recognizable butterflies in our region, with a wingspan that can reach 5 inches. Adults are frequent visitors to nectar-rich plants, especially large, composite flowers like Joe-Pye weed, milkweed, and buttonbush. Here, it is visiting chokecherry flowers (Prunus virginiana) for nectar. These native cherries are also quite important to tiger swallowtails as one of their preferred larval host plants. In fact, members of the genus Prunus are ecological powerhouses. They are larval hosts for 456 species of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies); their flowers are an excellent source of nectar and pollen for a range of insect pollinators; and their abundant berries feed birds in late summer.