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Old 02-17-2009, 12:54 AM   #1
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leaf02 Trees and Shrubs are Host Plants for Many Butterflies

Something that is rarely mentioned in butterfly gardening articles is that many species of butterflies use trees and shrubs for host plants. Among the butterflies that use trees and shrubs are:

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Giant Swallowtail
acadian Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak

Edwards' Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Early Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin

Spring Azure
Question Mark
Gray Comma
Green Comma
Compton Tortoiseshell

Mourning Cloak
Red-spotted Purple
White Admiral
Viceroy
Hackberry Emperor

Silver-spotted Skipper
Dreamy Duskywing
Sleepy Duskywing
Juvenal's Duskywing

Those are just some of the northern ones that I am familiar with. So when you are planning that complete butterfly garden, don't forget to consider some of the native tree and shrub host plants. Or, if you are just looking for some native trees and shrubs for your yard, consider selecting some of those that will also benefit your local butterflies.
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Last edited by Cirsium; 06-10-2010 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:58 AM   #2
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What is frustrating about this (to me) is some unpopular trees are larval or nectar hosts for some spectacular butterflies and moths. I guess what I'm trying to say is generally people don't want to plant or abide an Acer negundo (boxelder) or a hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) in their yard, for example.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:40 AM   #3
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Good point. There are a few native plants that are aggressive colonizers; especially in a disturbed area. Nature deals with this through succession, but I don't think the average gardener wants to wait that long.

It's one of the reasons why it's so important to have protected natural areas, where nature keeps things in balance and can provide for the needs of the native fauna that need these kind of plants.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Wink Carnivorous butterflies, specked alder, and unkempt gardens

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
Something that is rarely mentioned in butterfly gardening articles is that many species of butterflies use trees and shrubs for host plants. Among the butterflies that use trees and shrubs are:

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Giant Swallowtail
acadian Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak

Edwards' Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Early Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin

Spring Azure
Question Mark
Gray Comma
Green Comma
Compton Tortoiseshell

Mourning Cloak
Red-spotted Purple
White Admiral
Viceroy
Hackberry Emperor

Silver-spotted Skipper
Dreamy Duskywing
Sleepy Duskywing
Juvenal's Duskywing

Those are just some of the northern ones that I am familiar with. So when you are planning that complete butterfly garden, don't forget to consider some of the native tree and shrub host plants. Or, if you are just looking for some native trees and shrubs for your yard, consider selecting some of those that will also benefit your local butterflies.
Thanks for mentioning the shrubs & trees. You're right; I think "butterfly=flower." The book I'm reading now mentions speckled alder (Alnus rugosa) as being good for several butterflies. Also, the book mentioned a carnivorous butterfly (who knew?) likes a certain aphid that likes speckled alder.

This year is the one we ditch neatness in favor of wildlife.
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Those are just some of the northern ones that I am familiar with. So when you are planning that complete butterfly garden, don't forget to consider some of the native tree and shrub host plants. Or, if you are just looking for some native trees and shrubs for your yard, consider selecting some of those that will also benefit your local butterflies.
Interesting idea - I'm going to check out the trees and shrubs that I already have, and then make a list of what I "need".
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Old 03-22-2009, 06:43 PM   #6
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You will soon find once you start this project that you need them all! See my signature line
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trout lily View Post
Also, the book mentioned a carnivorous butterfly (who knew?). . .
Really?! What kind of butterfly?
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:31 AM   #8
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Early flowering trees and shrubs make up most of the nectar and pollen for early rising bees as well. I have been looking for native trees and shrubs that bloom early so that a continuous supply of food is available for the early bumbles that I have seen.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Really?! What kind of butterfly?
It's the caterpillars of the Harvester butterfly (Feniseca tarquinius) that are carnivorous. They feed on woolly aphids; and sometimes scale insects or tree hoppers. This is the only carnivorous butterfly in North America. The adults feed on aphid honeydew.

Species Detail | Butterflies and Moths of North America
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Early flowering trees and shrubs make up most of the nectar and pollen for early rising bees as well. I have been looking for native trees and shrubs that bloom early so that a continuous supply of food is available for the early bumbles that I have seen.
A really good tree for me is the red maple - lots of flowers and lots of bee activity. An early shrub is the willows. The next big producer is the standard fruit trees (not native, but not invasive either); apples and plums including the native wild plum. Serviceberries or juneberries (Amelanchier species) and all the wild cherries are also good producers of nectar and pollen.
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