HOMES along Toowoomba’s eastern escarpment have been getting visited lately by a small, rare and rather exquisite visitor.
Four barred swordtail butterflies are currently flying in the dry rainforest of Redwood Park and feeding on flowers growing in gardens along the escarpment.
Friends of the Escarpment member Hugh Krenske said the butterfly’s name came from the four brown-black bars on the upper side of the forewing and the sword-like extensions of their rear wings.
Mr Krenske said they could be attracted to local gardens by planting a zig-zag vine, the host plant for the butterfly’s larvae.
“While the plant grows as a vine scrambling over the branches in its natural rain forest habitat, it can be easily pruned and kept as a shrub,” he said.
“The interesting tuber-shaped pale green-to-yellow bush tucker fruit are edible and the seeds fairly easy to grow.”
Mr Krenske said the vines were not common in native nurseries but could be available from the community nursery at Crows Nest.
He also said Friends of the Escarpment could organise a bulk purchase of the vines if enough people were interested.