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Pipevine Swallowtail

The upper hindwings of this butter shine with a bright, metallic blue when the sun hits them — it’s exceptionally beautiful!

Host Plant(s): Tomentosa Pipevine and other pipevine species native to the U.S. Important note: Imported, tropical pipevines, like Duchman’s Pipe and Dwarf Pipevine, actually contribute to eradication of this butterfly. The butterfly sees these invasive pipevines and thinks it’s okay to lay eggs on them, but as soon as the caterpillars hatch and begin eating, they are poisoned and die. If you want to have wild-flying Pipevine Swallowtails in your area, you must get rid of tropical pipevines such as Duchman’s Pipe and Dwarf Pipevine.

Click on any of these thumbnails for a larger image:


How can you tell when you’re getting a ‘toxic’ pipevine vs. one that is okay? Mine, purchased each year from Rockledge Gardens, have hosted tons of eggs and voracious caterpillers, and many many chrysalides. My yard is full of Polydamus Swallowtails. However, I must replace this vine each year now, as the freezes have killed it. I really would like to know how NOT to get the kind that would be toxic and then suddenly be killing off all of the offspring of Polydamus Swallowtails we’ve raised! Thanks for the help…Lynn Cheney, of Cocoa, Florida

— Lynn Cheney · 30 May 2011, 08:21 · #

@Lynn – I too have the Dutchman’s Pipe/ Pipevine purchased from Rockledge Gardens. I think the variety we have is better known as the Calico Flower. The flowers are large, purple and spotted. The “true” Dutchman’s Pipe flower is not really pretty and much, much smaller. Also, mine dies back each year due to the frost (even though I cover it and put Christmas lights around it), but although for a few weeks it looks completely dead, it eventually comes back and becomes huge and beautiful again.

— Heather West · 1 June 2011, 13:05 · #

The two butterfly photos, were all very, very, very, beautiful!!! Daniel.

— Daniel · 15 July 2011, 10:06 · #

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