Category Archives: Butterfly

Butterfly Wiki Links

In case you missed it, below are Butterfly Wiki Links. You can also find them permanently in Butterfly Project blog sidebar. I thought as Spring has sprung and my last post was about host plants for caterpillars , I might as well make the cocoon, er, connection – cv

Pipevine Swallowtail
Zebra Swallowtail
Tiger Swallowtail
Black Veined White
Sara Orange Tip
Falcate Orange Tip
Orange Sulphur
Clouded Yellow
Purplish Copper
Coral Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Olive Hairstreak*
Brown Elfin
Gray Hairstreak
Eastern Tailed Blue
American Snout
Question Mark
Mourning Cloak


The Plants Caterpillars Eat

Common Butterflies and the Plants Their Caterpillars Eat

imageSo you’ve worked hard to create a butterfly garden and it seems to be abuzz with lots of pollinators but there aren’t a lot of butterflies beyond 3 or 4 of the usual suspects. Did you do something wrong? Consider the life of a butterfly. They eat, mate and lay eggs. You’ve included lots of nectar plants in your garden but have you considered the host plants for their caterpillars? Host plants are not as common or as attractive as flowers/nectar plants. You may have to work a little harder to get more fly time by butterflies. Below is a list of common butterflies and the plants their caterpillars eat. Consider adding some of them as a second phase to your Butterfly Garden.

Acmon Blue – buckwheat, lupines, milkvetch
American Painted Lady – cudweed, everlast
Baird’s Swallowtail – dragon sagebrush
Black Swallowtailparsley, dill, fennel, common rue
Coral Hairstreak – wild black cherry, American and chickasaw plum, black chokeberry
Dun Skippersedges, grasses including purpletop
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – wild black cherry, ash, tulip tree, willow, sweetbay, basswood
Giant Swallowtail – prickly ash, citrus, common rue, hoptree, gas plant, torchwood
Gray Commagooseberry, azalea, elm
Great Purple Hairstreakmistletoe
Gulf Fritillary – maypops, other passion vines
Henry’s Elfin – redbud, dahoon and yaupon hollies, maple-leaved viburnum, blueberries
Painted Lady (Cosmopolite)thistles, mallows, nievitas, yellow fiddleneck
Pygmy Blue – saltbush, lamb’s quarters, pigweed
Red Admiral/White Admiral – wild cherries, black oaks, aspens, yellow and black birch
Silver-Spotted Skipper – locusts, wisteria, other legumes
Spicebush Swallowtailsassafras, spicebush
Sulphursclover, peas, vetch, alfalfa, asters
Variegated Fritillarypassion flower, violets, maypop, stonecrop, purslane
Viceroy – willows, cottonwood, aspen
Western Tailed Blue – vetches, milkvetches
Western Tiger Swallowtail – willow, plum, alder, sycamore, hoptree, ash
Woodland Skippergrasses
Zebra Swallowtail – pawpaw

Italics suggest plants that may be more “garden friendly” because of availability and size.


Plants That Attract Butterflies


Monarch Waystation at Bissel Gardens

The Veterans Garden @Bissel is a more than a garden. It is a community activity that engages local veterans, community residents and young gardeners that covers several garden areas and activities as an overall exposure to urban gardening and techniques.

Monarch Waystation – Growing up in the city can teach you street smarts but you certainly don’t often learn about the trees or native plants on your block. This garden identifies many of the native, beneficial species common to the north east and specifically creates a habitat for monarch butterflies.

A bright, sunny strip 50’ X 5’ sheltered on one side by a tight woven security fence, the Monarch Waystation will be a milkweed haven for Monarch and other butterflies and pollinators. It will be bordered on one end by our Sunflower Garden which displays perennial and annual sunflowers, our Hole-Nesting Bee Shelter, and on the other end, native shrubs and grasses that attract pollinators.

Butterfly Gardena 4’ X 12’ bed intensely planted with a dozen butterfly friendly plants clearly labeled so folks can learn to identify different plant species.

Butterfly Buckets – ½ barrels planted with plants especially attractive to butterflies with an added host, nectar or companion plants and located throughout the garden.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are a sources of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. Growing milkeed supplies larvae of the Monarch with food and shelter, providing caterpillars food and a resting place before they leave the caterpillar stage and become butterflies. As the plants can be toxic; consumption of the plant protects caterpillars from predators.

Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum), Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea), Tithonia Torch, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia), Zinnia, Dahlia Mix (Zinnia elegans)


Butterflies by Charles Long