Philadelphus delavayi and Papilio rutulus

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."

Philadelphus delavayi and Papilio rutulus

8 responses to “Philadelphus delavayi and Papilio rutulus”

  1. Viola

    Stunning photograph with swallowtail as is the referred to flower photograph from 2005. I am enjoying these Botany Photos of the Day that come from the UBC Botanical Garden. They make me want to climb on a plane immediately and head for Vancouver. Good job and many thanks.

  2. Sue in Bremerton

    i agree with Viola. I get a little rush of joy when I see there is a post from UBC, and can hardly wait to see the treasure within. Every day seems to bring a new one. How I wish I had a green thumb. I want to run out and get some of the lovely flowers and trees that have been feature. How lucky you at UBC are to have such a wondrous place to work.

  3. Annie Morgan

    The photos are indeed treasures, every one.

  4. Marilyn Brown

    Would “rutulus” mean something like “shining with a golden light”? If so, how lovely.

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    i call gardens of flowers,butterfly airports
    you have a fine airport-do you stand in the garden and flag them in-who is the tower? daniel
    as we say in florida the tiger has landed
    thank you eric would make a lovely book cover

  6. Elizabeth Revell

    The butterfly is such a wonderful extra! In New Zealand we suffer a certain paucity of these lovely things – in the “bush” we may see tiny blues, slightly larger coppers, and only a few others, mostly rare.
    Only the “introduced” Monarch is common in the suburbs these days, apart from the cabbage white (also introduced along with its European food sources, of course!)

  7. Charlotte Melichar

    The leaves in today’s post are distinctly different from the leaves in the linked photo (from May 14, 2005). Any explanation? Some other shrub growing through the Philadelphus in today’s picture?

  8. Douglas Justice

    Charlotte, the leaves associated with flower stems are often different from those produced elsewhere on the plant. The leaves in the image above are those of Philadelphus delavayi.

Leave a Reply