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Summer Issue

Butterfly Gardening







Butterfly Gardening

Host and Nectar Plants
for Common Manitoba Butterflies

Host Plants (caterpillar food)

Each kind of caterpillar will only eat the leaves of a few kinds of plants, its host plants. Here are some common Manitoba butterflies and the host plants that their caterpillars eat.

Butterfly Species Host Plant

Silver-spotted Skipper False Indigo, Wild Peavine
Juvenal's Duskywing Bur Oak
European Skipper Timothy Grass
Common Roadside Skipper Kentucky Blue Grass
Black Swallowtail Parsley Family
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Willows, Poplars, Birches
Mustard White Wild Mustards
Cabbage White Wild Mustards, Cabbage
Clouded Sulphur Alfalfa, Clovers
Orange Sulphur Alfalfa, Clovers
Giant Sulphur Snow Willow
Pink Edged Sulphur Blueberries
Grey Copper Wild Docks
Dorcas Copper Shrubby Cinquefoil
Coral Hairstreak Wild Plums & Cherries
Edward's Hairstreak Bur Oak
Brown Elfin Blueberries, Bearberry
Eastern Pine Elfin Jack Pine
Spring Azure Blueberries, Wild Cherries
Silvery Blue Wild Peavine, Milkvetches
Variegated Fritillary Violets, Flax
Great Spangled Fritillary Violets
Aphrodite Fritillary Violets
Atlantis Fritillary Violets
Meadow Fritillary Violets
Gorgone Checkerspot Sunflowers, Ragweed
Pearl Crescent Asters
Question Mark Nettles, Hops
Grey Comma Birches, American Elm, Currants
Compton Tortoiseshell Willows, Birches, Alders
Mourning Cloak Willows, Elms
Milbert's Tortoiseshell Stinging Nettle
American Painted Lady Pussy-toes, Everlastings
Painted Lady Thistles, Sunflowers
Red Admiral Nettles
White Admiral Poplars, Birches
Viceroy Willows, Poplars
Northern Pearly Eye Purple Oat Grass, Reed Canary Grass
Ringlet Grasses & Sedges (various)
Common Wood Nymph Grasses (various)
Monarch Milkweeds (various)

Nectar Plants

Butterflies will sip nectar from many kinds of flowers. Here are some common plants that are good nectar sources for butterflies, and other insects, too; don't forget about bees and other beneficial bugs! The perennials are all Manitoba prairie plants which are now available commercially (see the list of sources below). Related horticultural plants could be substituted for most of these species. Look for plants with the same Genus (first name of the two scientific names).



Common Name Scientific Name
Zinnia Zinnia spp.
Nasturtiums Tropaeolum majus
Heliotrope Heliotropium arborescens
Dianthus Dianthus spp.
Ageratum Ageratum houstonianum
Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus
Petunia Petunia spp.
French Marigold Tagetes patula

Pink-flowered onion Allium stellatum
White prairie-clover Dalea candidum
Purple prairie-clover Dalea purpureum
Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata
Dwarf milkweed Asclepias ovalifolia
Whorled milkweed Asclepias veticillata
Wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Many-flowered aster Aster ericoides
Smooth aster Aster laevis
Flodman's thistle Cirsium flodmanii
Purple coneflower Echinacea augustifolia
Smooth fleabane Erigeron glabellus
Gaillardia Gaillardia aristata
Narrow-leaved sunflower Helianthus maximilianii
Rough false sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides
Meadow blazingstar Liatris ligulistylis
Dotted blazingstar Liatris punctata
Long-headed coneflower Ratibida columnifera
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
Graceful goldenrod Solidago canadensis
Stiff goldenrod Solidago rigida

Lilacs Syringa spp.
Tatarian Honeysuckle Lonicera tartarica
Red-osier Dogwood Cornus stolonifera
Choke Cherry Prunus vigininana
Nannyberry Vibernum lentago
Crabapples Malus spp.

Sources of Native Prairie Plants:

Living Prairie Museum (Seeds only) | Prairie Originals | PrairieFlora

More on butterflies in

Mourning Cloaks | Butterflies are Free? | Butterflies of Manitoba | Marvelous Monarchs!

Thanks for learning about Butterfly Gardening! Bye for now!

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