Plant & Phlutters – The Fennel Cafeteria

The fennel survived the winter and is a cloud of softest, hazy foliage in the Square Foot Garden. I was admiring it when I spotted a contrasting strand of something black on the foliage.

Could it be? Yes! A swallowtail caterpillar snacking on the fronds. Not only one caterpillar was in the midst of the cloud of fennel, but over half a dozen. I’ve never noticed swallowtail caterpillars so early in the season. I am hoping that the density of the fennel will protect the caterpillars from predators.

 

14 thoughts on “Plant & Phlutters – The Fennel Cafeteria

    1. Timelesslady

      I hope they will be safe. I don’t have any dill that is large enough to sustain them on the porch right now. That has worked for me in the past and I was able to save quite a few. I need to get those pots of dill growing this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The fennel is so beautiful, what would you use the fronds for? Looks like you have had some fresh rain.
    And the caterpillars- thank you for looking out for them- when you don’t have butterflies like I, you learn to appreciate and watch for caterpillars- though I would never have thought of keeping them safe from predators.
    Susie

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    1. Timelesslady

      Hi Susie, I don’t use the fronds so much, but instead use the seeds for some recipes. They also are a natural breath freshener. I know that some people use the bulb that forms at the bottom of the plant for eating. I grow it mainly because it is pretty and for those seeds I mentioned. It looks like a green cloud and I know it is one of the host plants for butterflies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t know it was a butterfly attractant. I am trying hard to attract butterflies to my garden- seems it is too hot even for butterflies.
        The fennel seeds- we use in our cooking especially when we need to make masala- the spice mix for meat. It is given out as a natural mouth freshener in restaurants on the way out. Sometimes candied fennel is handed out as a dessert item for people who don’t want to order a sweet after food.
        Do you harvest fennel seeds from these beautiful fronds or buy them at a shop?

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          1. Will you please post pictures of your fennel seeds on the plant when they ripen?
            I wonder where our fennel comes from.
            I have watched Ina Garten use fennel bulbs in soups- she says they have a liqourice-y flavour.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Timelesslady

              I will do that Susie, it will be awhile though, they aren’t blooming yet, and it takes a while for the seed to develop. I found last year that they stayed on the plant for quite awhile before they dried. I am so glad the plant lived through the winter. It’s been a nice surprise.

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