Heading out of the garden after an afternoon of taking photos, I was drawn to the intoxicating fragrance of Philadelphus delavayi, which was in full bloom. As I neared the shrub to drink in the aroma, I noticed this lovely butterfly busily feeding on the nectar from the flowers.
Ingrid Hoff, Horticulture Manager at UBC Botanical Garden and our resident insect specialist, identified it as Papilio rutulus, the western tiger swallowtail. She writes about the visitor, "This is one of the most common butterflies along the west coast, often found anywhere there is moisture. Large numbers of males can often be found "puddling" together in muddy areas or near streams. The species is found from British Columbia to Baja California east through the Rocky Mountains, but rarely beyond them. The western tiger swallowtail can have up to three broods per season.
Philadelphus delavayi has been feature on BPotD previously. Daniel Mosquin wrote this entry, which is still very much worth reading and the text accompanies a beautiful close up view of the buds and flowers.
The interpretive sign for this plant describes it very well:
"Named for the French missionary Père Jean Marie Delavay (1838-1895), who characterized much of the flora of Yunnan, Philadelphus delavayi is a variable species that is considered one of the most beautiful of all mock oranges.
Like other Philadelphus species, Delavay mock orange is an arching shrub that displays its pure white, saucer-shaped, fragrant flowers on short, lax racemes. The appeal of Philadelphus delavayi does not lie so much in its open flowers—which are admittedly large and beautiful—but in the sumptuous plum-purple calyces that back the flowers. The startling contrast of the purple calyx and white corolla is best seen before the flowers are completely open."