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Butterfly Information

Butterfly Information

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Primary Larval Food Plants and the Butterflies That Use Them

T = tree, S = shrub, F = flower, V = vegetable

PlantButterfly  
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) FClouded sulphur, alfalfa sulphur, eastern tailed blue
Aspen, cottonwood (Populus spp.) TWhite admiral, red-spotted purple, western admiral, Lorquin's admiral, viceroy, mourning cloak
    tiger swallowtail, western tiger swallowtail
Aster (Aster spp.) FPearl crescent 
Bean (Phaseolus spp.) VLong-tailed skipper
Birch (Betula spp.) TMourning cloak, white admiral
Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) SBrown elfin 
Cabbage, broccoli (Brassica spp.) VCabbage white, checkered white
Cherry (Prunus spp.) T, SRed-spotted purple, tiger swallowtail, spring azure
Citrus trees (Citrus spp.) TAnise swallowtail, giant swallowtail
Clover (Trifolium spp.) FClouded sulphur, alfalfa sulphur, eastern tailed blue
Dogwood (Cornus spp.) T, SSpring azure 
Elm (Ulmus spp.) TComma, question mark, mourning cloak
Everlasting (Gnaphalium spp.) FAmerican painted lady
False indigo (Amorpha spp.) SDog face, silver-spotted skipper
False nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) FRed admiral, question mark, comma, Milbert's tortoiseshell
Grasses, sedges (various genera)Common wood nymph, little wood satyr, eyed brown, ringlet, fiery skipper, European skipper
Hackberry (Celtis spp.) TQuestion mark, comma, hackberry butterfly, tawny emperor, snout butterfly, mourning cloak
Hops (Humulus lupulus) FQuestion mark, comma
Knotweed (Polygonum spp.) FPurplish copper 
Locust (Robinia spp.) T, SSilver-spotted skipper
Lupine (Lupinus spp.) FSilvery blue, other blues
Mallow (Malva spp.) FWest Coast lady, gray hairstreak
Marigold (Tagetes spp.) FDainty sulphur 
Meadowsweet (Spiraea spp.) SSpring azure 
Milk vetch (Astragalus spp.) FWestern tailed blue, other blues
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) FMonarch, queen 
Nettle (Urtica spp.) FRed admiral, question mark, comma, Milbert's tortoiseshell
Oak (Quercus spp.) T, SSister, banded hairstreak
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) VBlack swallowtail, anise swallowtail
Passionflower (Passiflora spp.) FGulf fritillary, zebra
Pawpaw (Asimina spp.) TZebra swallowtail 
Pipevine (Aristolochia spp.) FPipevine swallowtail
Plantain (Plantago spp.) FBuckeye, Baltimore
Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) FBlack swallowtail, anise swallowtail
Senna (Cassia spp.) FCloudless sulphur
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum spp.) FBuckeye 
Sneezeweed (Helenium spp.) FDainty sulphur 
Sorrel, dock (Rumex spp.) FAmerican copper, purplish copper
Spicebush, sassafras (Lindera spp.) SSpicebush swallowtail, tiger swallowtail
Stonecrop (Sedum spp.) FPhoebus parnassian
Sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) FAnise swallowtail, black swallowtail
Thistle (Cirsium spp.) FPainted lady 
Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) TTiger swallowtail 
Turtlehead (Chelone spp.) FBaltimore, buckeye
Vetch (Vicia spp.) FAlfalfa sulphur, eastern tailed blue, western tailed blue, other blues
Violet (Viola spp.) FGreat spangled fritillary, meadow fritillary, other fritillaries
Willow (Salix spp.) T, SWestern admiral, Lorquin's admiral, viceroy, mourning cloak, western tiger swallowtail
Winter cress (Barbarea spp.) FSara orange tip, falcate orange tip, cabbage white

Butterfly Nectar Sources

Butterfly Nectar SourcesZoneHeightColor
Common Name (Scientific Name)   
ANNUALS   
Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) 6-8 in.purple
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), 'Sensation' 3 ft.pink,whites
Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) 1 ft.purple
Lantana (Lantana camara) 1-3 ft.red,yellow,blue
Lunaria, honesty (Lunaria annua) — sometimes biennial 2-3 ft.purple,white
Marigold, French marigold (Tagetes patula) 1 ft.yellow,orange
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) 3-5 ft.yellow,orange
Nicotiana, flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) 2 ftpinks,whites
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) — subshrub 1 1/2 ftpurple,rose,white
Petunia (Petunia x hybrida) 1 ft.pink,white,blue
Scabiosa, pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea) 1 1/2 ft. blue
Statice (Limonium sinuatum) 1-1 1/2 ft.purple,blue
Verbena (Verbena x hortensis, V. x hybrida) 1 ft.rose, pink
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) 1 - 2 ft.pinks,yellows,rose
    
Common Name (Scientific Name)   
PERENNIALSZoneHeightColor
Early   
Allium (Allium spp.) — bulb32-4 ft.purple
Arabis (Arabis albida)46 in.white
Aubrieta, purple rock cress (Aubrieta deltoidea)43 - 6 in.purple
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)22 ft. purple
Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis)32-31/2 ft.purple,sometimes,pink,white
Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) — biennial, perennial39 - 24 in.blue
Midseason   
Bee balm (Monarda didyma)43 ftpink, red
Black-eyed Susan, gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia spp.) — biennial, perennial33 ftyellow
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)32-3 ft.orange
Catmint (Nepeta mussinii)41 ft. blue-purple
Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)32 ft.yellow
Daisy, shasta daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum, C. x superbum)42-3 ft. white
Daylily (Hemerocallls spp.)22-3 ft.yellow,orange,peach,pink
Erigeron, fleabane (Erigeron speciosus)21-3 ft.lavender,blue
Gaillardia, blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandifiora)21-3 ft.yellow,and,red
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)51-5 ft.purple
Liatris, blazing-star, gay-feather (Liatris spp.)22-4 ft.mauve
Lily (Lilium spp.)32-5 ft.yellow,pink,white,red
Loosestrife (Lythrum virgatum), 'Morden's Gleam'33-4 ft.pink
Mint (Mentha spp.)31 - 4 ft.purple,white
Phlox (Phlox spp.)43 ft.pink,white,rose,blue,mauve
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)32-3 ft.pink, white
Red valerian (Centranthus rube')42-3 ft.deep rose
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) — subshrub62-6 ft.violet-blue
Sunflower (Helianthus spp.)33-5 ft.yellow
Veronica (Veronica spp.)56-18 in.blue, pink
Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina), 'Coronation Gold'22-3 ft.yellow
Late   
Aster, Michaelmas daisy (Aster spp.)23-5 ft.purple,ruby,pink,blue
Globe thistle (Echinops exaltatus)32-4 ft.purple
Physostegia, obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)221/2-4 ft.pink
Sedum, showy sedum (Sedum spectabile vulgaris)31-11/2 ft.pink
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)32-3 ft.yellow,orange
    
Common Name (Scientific Name)   
WILDFLOWERSZoneHeightColor
Early   
Clover (Trifolium spp.)34—8 in.pink, white
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)36–8 in.yellow
Hawkweed (Hieracium spp.)3.6–12 in.
Winter cress (Barbarea spp.)31—11/2 ft.yellow
Midseason   
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)31-2 ft.orange
Daisy, Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)31—2 ft.white
Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)31—2 ft.pink
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)33 ft.pink
Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum spp.)21—2h/2 ft.white
Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)31—3 ft.white
Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota)33–31/2 ft.white
Thistle (Cirsium spp.)33—4 ft.purple
Vetch (Vida spp.)36 ft.purple
Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)33–4 ft.lavender
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)22 ft.white
    
Late   
Aster (Aster spp., especially A. novae-angliae)34 ft.purple-blue
Beggar ticks (Bidens aristosa)41–3 ft.yellow
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)34–5 ft.white
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)33 ft.yellow
Ironweed (Vernonia spp.)43–7 ft.purple
Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.)25—9 ft.pinkish purple
    
Common Name (Scientific Name)   
SHRUBSZoneHeightColor
Early   
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)320 ft.purple,pink,white
Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)4to 18 ft.pink,purple,white
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)415 ft.yellow
Midseason   
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii, B. alternifolia)56—15 ft.purple
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)415 ft.white
Flame-of-the-woods (Ixora coccinea)1015 ft.red and yellow
Honeysuckle shrub (Lonicera tatarica)39 ft.pale pink
New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americans)43 ft.white
Privet: Amur privet (Ligustrum amurense) in North315 ft.white
California privet (L. ovalifolium) in Calif.615 ft.white
Japanese privet (L. japonicum) in South76–18 ft.white
Sweet pepperbush, summer sweet (Clethra alnifolia)34–6 ft.white
    
Late   
Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)52–4 ft.blue
Glossy abelia (Abel/a x grandiflora)55 ft.pink
Sweet pepperbush (Clethra arborea)925 ft.white
    
Common Name (Scientific Name)   
TREESZoneHeightColor
Buckeye (Aesculus spp.)375 ft.white,greenishyellow,pink
Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata)430 ft.white
Plum, cherry (Prunus spp.)320–30 ft.pink
Willow (Salix spp.)210-45 ft.greenishyellow
    
VINESZoneHeightColor
 Lonicera brownii 4 10-20 ft. Coral

 

 

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