Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fennel & Caterpillars

Bronze fennel grows like an invasive weed in my garden.  If it wasn't such an incredibly beautiful plant, I might consider radical removal.  Luckily, it has other uses and benefits beyond the culinary endeavor. I'm told it's quite delicious although I can never bring myself to consuming it since the taste of anise is expressly forbidden in my stomach.  But, it does make a perfect filler for flower arrangements.  Here's a rather surprising discovery, butterflies seem to love this plant.  While yanking out bulb after bulb I began noticing some of the most colorful caterpillars co-habitating on the leaves.  They were a florescent yellow, green and black. Some were red, black and white.  Others were a bright green, white and black.  It was a delightful discovery.

While I had a trashcan full of fennel, I gently placed those leaves with caterpillars aside in the garden so they could continue their transformation.

1 comment:

Ginny said...

I had a magnificent fennel plant last year and the Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars loved it! I'm starting some fennel from seed this year as I can't find it in my local garden center. But like you, I couldn't bring myself to eat the fennel, but loved using it as a filler in flower arrangements. Now I primarily want it as a butterfly breeding ground.