The genus includes a number of well-known North American species such as the western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus). Familiar species in elsewhere in the world include the Mormons (Papilio polytes, Papilio polymnestor, Papilio memnon, and Papilio deiphobus) in Asia, the orchard and Ulysses swallowtails in Australia (Papilio aegeus, Papilio ulysses, respectively) and the citrus swallowtail of Africa (Papilio demodocus).
Older classifications of the swallowtails tended to use a large number of rather small genera. More recent classifications have been more conservative, and as a result a number of former genera are now absorbed within Papilio. The genus as recognized by modern systems has about 200 members. The genus Chilasa is regarded as a subgenus of Papilio by some workers, as are the baggy-tailed swallowtails (Agehana), although the latter taxon is usually considered a subgenus of Chilasa.
Now included in the genus Papilio, are the former genera: Achillides, Eleppone, Druryia, Heraclides (giant swallowtails), Menelaides, Princeps, Pterourus (tiger swallowtails), and Sinoprinceps.