nectar plants

Buffet for the Butterflies

As you plan your spring flower garden, please consider planting something that will nourish butterflies.  Here are my favorites: Milkweed (all varieties), Bee Balm, Cosmos, Zinnia, Yarrow, Shasta Daisy, Joe Pye Weed, Coneflower, Verbena, Lantana, Butterfly Bush, Parsley, Queen Anne’s Lace, Mexican Sunflower, Butterfly Bush. 

Keep in mind that ALL butterflies start out as caterpillars. Don’t be quick to squash them or spray them with toxic poisons, or you may be killing off the next generation.

Interesting factoid: Pipevine Swallowtails and Monarch caterpillars and butterflies are toxic. A bird that has gobbled one down likely won’t eat another. Viceroy butterflies are not toxic, but they have evolved to closely resemble the Monarch. It’s a defense mechanism to avoid being eaten.

Quick ways to distinguish a butterfly from a moth: Butterflies rest with their wings together, over their backs. Moths rest with their wings open, flat. Butterfly antenna are club-like, with a swollen tip. Moth antenna are like feathers. Butterflies have thin bodies, while their moth cousins have thick bodies. 

 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Mexican Sunflower.jpg