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Native and Non-Native* Caterpillar Host Plants for Showy Butterfly Species

Native and Non-Native* Caterpillar Host Plants for Showy Butterfly Species

In order for butterfly populations to survive, their young (the caterpillars) must have plants to eat. Unlike moth caterpillars, the caterpillars of most butterfly species are found at low enough densities that they do not totally defoliate their host plant. (*Non-native host plants are indicated by an asterisk.)

Caterpillar Host Plants Butterfly
Asters Pearl Crescent
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
(other Prunus also used)
Coral Hairstreak (on Wild Plum)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Red-spotted Purple
Striped Hairstreak (on Wild Plum)
Carrot Family including Queen Anne’s Lace* and many herb garden plants,
e.g., Parsley*, Fennel*, and Dill*
Black Swallowtail
caterpillars cause heavy defoliation
Common Lilac* Tiger Swallowtail
Curled Dock* (Rumex crispus) American Copper
Dogwood (Comus spp.) Spring Azure, Common Blue
Eastern Red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
(usually stands, not single trees)
Juniper (Olive) Hairstreak
Everlastings (including Anaphilis margaritacea, Antennaria plantaginifolia)
and other Composites
American Lady
New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) Spring Azure, Common Blue
Lamb’s-quarters* (Chenopodium album)
(generally regarded as a weed)
Common Sootywing
Lupine* (Lupinus) (the only Connecticut native Lupine is Wild Lupine [Lupinus perennis]) Eastern Tailed Blue
Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) Monarch
Nettles (Urtica spp. [some native, some not]),
e.g., False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)
e.g., Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis)
Eastern Comma
Question Mark
Red Admiral
Oaks (Quercus spp.) Banded Hairstreak
Edward’s Hairstreak
Juvenal’s Duskywing
Red Spotted Purple
Pea Family including many non-native species, such as Clovers*, Sweet-clovers*
and Alfalfa*
Clouded Sulphur
Eastern Tailed Blue
Orange Sulphur
Silver-spotted Skipper
Purpletop (=Tall Redtop; Tridens flavens) (an often-planted native bunchgrass
considered to be an aggressive weed by some
sources)
Common Wood Nymph
also Crossline Skipper
Little Glassywing
Zabulon Skipper
(Note: the Skippers are not strongly showy)
Sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum) Spicebush Swallowtail
Sheep-sorrel* (Rumex acetosella) (generally regarded as a weed) American Copper
Snapdragon* (Antirrhinum majus) Common Buckeye
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) Spicebush Swallowtail
Tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) Baltimore Checkerspot
Viburnum (Viburnum spp.) Spring Azure, Common Blue
Violets (Viola spp. – most are native) Fritillaries
Willows (Salix spp., scrubby ones; some*) Viceroy
Mourning Cloak
Wild False Foxgloves Baltimore
  Aureolaria (formerly Gerardia) flava
  Aureolaria (formerly Gerardia) pedicularia
  Aureolaria (formerly Gerardia) virginica
 
Checkerspot