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Host Plants

Leaf of Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in open areas such as fields, woodlands, and roadsides that are mesic to dry. It is the host plant for two species of butterflies, two moths, and is a nectar source for other insects and hummingbirds. The purplish colored flowers appear in the spring.

Fruit of Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in open areas such as meadows, roadsides, and streamsides. It is the host plant for six species of butterflies and a nectar source for other insects. The purple flowers appear in the spring or early summer and the plant can sometimes become bushy.

Flowers of Lupine (Lupinus perennis) in a field

Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Lupine (Lupinus perennis) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in places that have been disturbed by fire or grazed by animals. Since there has been fire suppression and there are not as many grazers in the forest, the habitat for this plant has been declining. Lupine is a host for eight species of butterflies, including one that is rare and feeds exclusively on it and a nectar source for many others that use the variably colored flowers in the spring.

White flowers of Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), a Popular and Supportive Friend to Insects

Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) is a tree that reaches the canopy in northern states and the understory in the south. This plant is a host for five species of butterflies and a nectar source for many others that use the white flowers in the spring. It is sometimes considered one of the best plants to have in a butterfly/pollinator garden due to the large number of species it supports.

Purple flower of New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in open areas such as fields, meadows, disturbed areas, and roadsides. In the fall, this plant flowers with goldenrod to form a mosaic of purple and yellow. This plant is a host for the Pearl Crescent butterfly and Canadian Conia Moth. It is also a widely used nectar and pollen source.

Specimen of Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Fascinating Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is an understory tree that has the largest fruit of the native plants in North America. Pawpaw has purple-brown flowers that bloom in the spring with a green fruit in the late summer to fall. It is the host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail.

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