The Giant Swallowtail butterfly indigenous to different parts of North America is said to be the largest butterfly on this continent. When the wings are open, they are black with a yellow horizontal line running across their forewings. When the wings are closed patches of red and blue bands are displayed alongside the black and yellow coloration. The yellow bands in females are of a thinner texture while there is also a black spot on the yellow oval band that is located at the third position from the tip of its wing. The oval in the males lacks the black spot and their yellow band is thicker.


Giant Swallowtail Butterfly” by Jim Mullhaupt, licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Giant Swallowtail Facts

Butterfly Family: Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilionidae)

Butterfly Subfamily: Papilioninae

Butterfly Wingspan: 4 – 6 1/4 inches

Butterfly Habitat: Many locales including rocky and sandy hillsides near streams or gullies in the north; pine flats, towns, and citrus groves in the south


Giant Swallowtail Host and Nectar Plants

Host Plants:

  • Common Rue
  • Prickly Ash
  • Hop Tree

Nectar Plants:

  • Common Milkweed
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Lantana
  • Blazing Star
  • Mistflower
  • Verbena
  • Ironweed
  • Mountain Mint
  • Goldenrod
  • Zinnia