The Butterfly Effect

By Ramona Krucker, Gardener

The Butterfly Cottage, nestled under the English Oak near The Studio, has recently been claimed by a future butterfly for pupation and hibernation purposes. We first noticed the pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor) chrysalis attached by the back door about six or seven weeks ago.

Previously, there had been sightings of fully grown caterpillars feeding on the leaves of the Dutchman’s pipevine (Aristolochia californica) growing on the fence behind the Cottage. 

This native plant, which is most commonly found in riparian areas in Northern California, is the only host plant for the isolated California subspecies of the Pipevine Swallowtail  (Battus philenor hirsuta). Populations of Battus philenor are also found east of the Rockies from New England to Florida and in parts of the Midwest. The California subspecies is smaller and hairier (hirsuta means hairy). Another difference is that the California subspecies is predetermined to enter diapause or hibernation in the pupal stage, emerging when conditions become more favorable, whereas populations of the Eastern version living in warmer climates only pupate for a week or two. 

While the specialized diet of the larvae can be a challenge for the species’ survival in times of habitat loss and climate change, it comes with one important advantage: compounds sequestered from the host plant make both the voracious black caterpillar with its bright red tubercles as well as the butterfly that follows taste bad to birds and other predators. 

If you would like to attract this handsome black and teal colored butterfly to your own backyard, you can plant two or three Dutchman’s pipevines,  under a tree or beside a trellis or fence, preferably in moist shade. They will grow rapidly once they take off, generally in the second or third year. For inspiration, we recommend the drawing/painting by Nancy Wheeler Klippert, on view at the Studio as part of the Mount Tam Florilegium starting September 22.

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IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center