A Pineapple and Butterfly

by Maria Sibylla Merian

This is a ripe Ananas (pineapple), which must be peeled to be eaten.
This fruit tastes as though one had mixed grapes, apricots, red currants, apples, and pears and were able to taste all of them at once.
Its smell is attractive and strong.

The caterpillar, which sits on this pineapple,
I found in the grass beside the pineapples in 1700 at the beginning of May.
It was light green with red and white stripes along the whole body.

On 10 May it changed into a chrysalis and on 18 May,
a very beautiful butterfly (Philaetria dido) emerged
decorated with luminous green flecks,
which is shown twice, resting and in flight.

If the butterfly is observed through a magnifying glass,
the ‘dust’ on the wings resembles fish scales
with three branches on each scale, covered with long hairs.
The scales are so symmetrical that
they can be counted without any difficulty. T
he body is covered with feathers interwoven with hairs.


Note: A pineapple and butterfly in Merian’s own words.

As featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all.
Maria Sibylla Merian
Maria Sibylla Merian
Merian's Pineapple and Butterfly

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