Garden Musings

Pipevine Swallowtail

I was in the garden when something caught my eye. At first, I thought it was a bird. Then I thought it was a hummingbird moth before I finally realized it was a butterfly.

Not just any butterfly—it was a new-to-me butterfly, which is always exciting.

As usual, I didn’t have my phone or camera with me. So I ran inside for my camera, ran back out, and started taking pictures. Once I was done, it only took me a few minutes of Googling to identify the butterfly.

Just have a look at this beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).

I learned one way to identify and differentiate Pipevine Swallowtails from other swallowtails is by the single C-shaped row of orange spots on the underside of the hindwing.

You can clearly see the orange spots in this picture—I love the vibrant orange and blue!

Pipevine Swallowtail on Zinnia

I didn’t get any great pictures with its wings open, but you can see the iridescent blue on its hindwings in this picture.

Another view of this beautiful butterfly.

Want to learn more? The North American Butterfly Association and Butterflies and Moths of North America both provide overviews of these relatively common but still new-to-me butterflies.


  1. davidborcherding

    September 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I’ve never seen a butterfly like that! How very cool.

    1. Sarah | Horseradish & Honey

      September 24, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Right? So unexpected and so cool. Right place, right time. It hung out for just a few minutes – long enough for me to take some pictures – then flew away.

  2. cary

    September 24, 2017 at 10:36 am

    She/He is incredibly freaky. Sci Fi butterfly.

    1. Sarah | Horseradish & Honey

      September 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Freaky cool. Mother Nature has got it going on! I think it’s a male butterfly but I am not 100% sure.

  3. Jules

    September 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Out here at Hope Springs I have only seen one monarch this summer -but we have a lot of pipevine swallowtails! They are enchanting little creatures.

  4. Stacey

    September 25, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Love this!!! Thanks for sharing and can’t wait for my butterfly garden next year with all your good advice.

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