Monday, June 7, 2010

Bottlebrush buckeye and swallowtails

The large bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) in the front of our house is in full flower.

It's glorious for a couple of weeks in mid-June each year. It keeps getting bigger, but we selectively prune the suckers to keep it from over-running the kalmias and rhododendrons nearby.

This picture doesn't do it justice at all, taken quickly before heading off, but shows how large the flowers can be.

Swallowtails are enjoying visiting the flowers; pipevines and this black swallowtail (I think) are abundant.

Note: Actually, it's a pipevine swallowtail (Thanks, Randy) - we have lots flying around right now, thanks to our huge pipevine (Aristolochia macrophylla)!


  1. Lisa,
    I saw this plant growing wild in Yosemite and covered in butterflies. never thought of growing it here in the southeastern US. I believe you have a Pipevine Swallowtail there!

  2. Hi, Randy,
    How nice to see a relative of our buckeye in California! California has its own buckeye species, Aesculus californica, that looks quite similar to ours (which has quite a narrow natural range, but is happy over a much wider range of garden conditions). There was a lovely large A. californica on campus (where we were in graduate school).

    And thanks for confirming my suspicion about the butterfly being a pipevine swallowtail (not a black swallowtail--- hmm, my parsley has been almost defoliated, so they were also a suspect) -- the butterflies were visiting so actively, I couldn't get a good look at their upper wing surfaces.

    We have a huge pipevine on a trellis next to the house, so we've had lots of pipevine swallowtails this summer.



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