This is the time for butterflies, and if you want to attract them to your yard, you’ll have to plant what they love to eat and lay their eggs on. If you plant a wide array of flowering plants, you’ll be able to see the vast majority of butterflies that visit your area. With a little planning, your family can sit back and watch them flood into your yard. Be sure to get your plants from a reputable nursery that doesn’t treat their plants with neonicotinoid pesticide, as this disrupts the system of insects and is harmful to birds and other animals.
Here are a few butterflies to look out for in North American and beyond.
Parnassian clodius likes an open wood area, meadows, or rocky outcrop in the alpine regions of western North America. The host plant for the caterpillars of this beauty butterfly is equally as beautiful. The Bleeding Heart, Dicentra sp., has 6 varieties that are native to N. America.
Morpho peleides, “The Emperor”, is a tropical butterfly found in Central and South American. This butterfly loves to feed on rotting fruit of the mango and kiwi, but you’ll have to have a peanut plant, bignonias or alfalfa around for the caterpillar to feed on.
Polyommatus icarus, Common Blue, is widespread through Europe, North Africa, and across Asia and Russia. The caterpillar feeds on plants from the Legume Family, like the vetch shown above.
Papilio rumanzovia, Scarlet Mormon, has a wing span of 12-14cm and is seen fluttering from Australia to Philippines to eastern Indonesia. Although, the butterflies will feed on any flowering plant, the caterpillar seeks out citrus plants like the Kaffir lime tree shown above.
Monarch butterflies are synonymous with milkweed. It’s what makes them poisonous and why birds only consume certain parts of the butterfly, but what you may not know is there are two different populations of the Monarch, the western North American and the eastern North American. The western North American Monarch tends to be a bit smaller, are found West of the Rookies, and predominantly migrate to regions in California. The eastern North American Monarch migrates from southern Canada and the USA to Mexico. The Monarch is not currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, but in August of 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat. Want to help out? Plant a milkweed.