Although not a native North American wildflower, Queen Anne’s Lace has adapted to our climate well, reportedly growing in every state save for Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii. A member of the Umbelliferae, or Carrot Family, Queen Anne’s Lace also goes by the common names Wild Carrot, Bird’s Nest, and Bishops’s Lace. The root of young plants, although white, tastes like a carrot, and when rubbed together between fingers, the foliage smells of parsley (also a member of the Umbel Family).
Queen Anne’s Lace is a caterpillar food plant of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Don’t despair butterfly lovers. Although the butterflies have been slow to awaken this year, I have high hopes that just as flowering plants are several weeks behind, so too will the butterflies emerge–only later than expected.
Black Swallowtail Butterfly Nectaring at Zinnia elegans
Please join me Tuesday evening at 7pm at the Chelmsford Public Library for my lecture The Pollinator Garden. The event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!
Thank you to Emma Duckworth for providing this breaking caterpillar news! Emma Duckworth Photos
On August 16th at the Berkshire Museum they’ll be showing a double header of sorts. Earlier in the afternoon at 2:00pm is a presentation of my program on how to attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden, titled “The Pollinator Garden,” followed by a showing of my film Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, followed by a Q & A. The event is part of the “Butterflies” exhibit currently on display at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. I hope you can come join me!
In the above photo, the orange horn-like structure at the top of the caterpillar’s head is called an osmeterium. When the caterpillar is distressed, it everts the osmeterium. The osmeterium is thought to be a mimic of a snake’s tongue and is a defense against would-be predators such as birds. Additionally, a horrible smelly odor is released from the osmeterium, which can be smelled from a distance of up to ten feet away, and is yet another defense mechanism!
See previous GMG posts about the “Butterflies” exhibit here.
Butterflies at the Berkshire
Museum Map to Berkshire Museum Provided by GMG FOB Catherine Ryan
Exciting New Film Assignment for the Berkshire Museum
Thank you notes from a butterfly program I gave recently. What fun it was, and what a wonderful surprise to find in my mail box. The mind of a child is the most extraordinarily beautiful sponge!