Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Fri. & Sat. from 9am-4pm
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tues. to Sat. from 9am-4pm

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Plants for a California or Western Butterfly Garden

This page shows which California butterflies use which California native plants. To get more details on a plant or for ordering the plant for your garden, just click on the plant links. The plant links give growing requirements (if you can use them in your garden), pictures and prices. (If there is no link on the plant it is because we do not carry it.) To get more detailed information on butterflies and for scientific names, click on the butterfly links. Each page has larval and adult food plant information and butterfly pictures. If there is no link on a butterfly it is because the page has not been written yet. Sorry.
This was an old page with a massive table, I've broken it into about 50 tables so the code is more current, that makes it kind of squirrelly, but much more readable.

Plant Species

Adult Butterfly uses 

Larva that use this

Abutilon sp.
Laviana Skipper
Achillea sp. Chalcedon Checkerspot

Hairstreaks
Adenostoma fasciculatum
Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Aesculus californica
Echo Blue Butterfly


Spring Azure Butterfly
Agastache urticifolia Monarch Butterfly

Western Tiger Swallowtail
Agave deserti
Bauer's Giant Skipper
Agave deserti
Bauer's Giant Skipper

Stephens's Giant Skipper
Agave utahensis Allie's Giant Skipper
Alnus rubra Western Tiger Swallowtail




Ambrosia sp Common Sooty-wing Butterfly
Amorpha fruticosa Southern Dog-face Butterfly

Common Hairstreak Butterfly

Silver-spotted skipper
Arabis Spp.




Mustard White Butterfly

Sara Orange-tip Butterfly

Boisduval's Marble Butterfly

Edwards's Marble Butterfly

Large Marble Butterfly

California White Butterfly
Arabis glabra Boisduval's Marble butterfly
Arabis holboelii
Edwards's Marble Butterfly
Arabis perennans

Boisduval's Marble butterfly
Arbutus menziesii
Western Brown Elfin


Doudoroff's Hairstreak Butterfly
Arceuthobium sp
Nelson's Hairstreak Butterfly
Arceuthobium campylopodium
Muir's Hairstreak Butterfly
Arceuthobium douglasii
Muir's Hairstreak Butterfly
Aristolochia californica
Pipe-vine Swallowtail Butterfly
Artemisia rothrockii
Ruddy Copper Butterfly
Aster sp.
Monarch
Northern Pearl Crescent Butterfly
Aster californicus Field Crescent Butterfly

Northern Checkerspot Butterfly
Aster conspicuus Hoffmann's Checkerspot Butterfly
Aster hesperius Field Crescent Butterfly
Astragalus Spp. Acmon Blue Butterfly

Alexandra Sulfur Butterfly

Alfalfa Butterfly

Arrowhead Blue Butterfly

Edwards's Sulfur Butterfly


Golden Sulfur Butterfly


Palo Verdes Blue Butterfly


Marine Blue Butterfly



Melissa Blue butterfly

Northern cloudy-wing Butterfly

Western Sulfur Butterfly

Western Tailed Blue Butterfly

Astragalus douglasii  Harford's Sulfur Butterfly
Atriplex canescens Mojave Sooty-wing Butterfly

Alpheus Sooty wing Butterfly

Pygmy Blue Butterfly

San Emigdio Blue Butterfly
Atriplex hastata Pygmy Blue Butterfly
Atriplex lentiformis
Pygmy Blue Butterfly


MacNeill's Sooty-wing Butterfly
Atriplex semibaccata
Pygmy Blue Butterfly

A short video about Bidens laevis, Joaquin Sunflower or Bur Marigold. Butterflies and all.

Brassica spp. Becker's White Butterfly

Common White Butterfly

Western White Butterfly

Large Marble Butterfly

Sara Orange-tip Butterfly
Beloperone californica West Coast Lady Butterfly Imperial Checkerspot Butterfly
Betula occidentalis
Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Betula fontinalis
Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Calocedrus Decurrens

Clench's Hairstreak Butterfly
Carex Sp. Umber Skipper

Harbison's Skipper
Cassia spp Mexican Yellow Butterfly

Nicippe Yellow Butterfly
Cassia armata Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly

Large Orange Sulfur Butterfly

Mexican Sulfur Butterfly

Nicippe Sulfur Butterfly

Sleepy Orange Butterfly
Ceanothus Spp. Artful Duskywing Butterfly

California Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Western Brown Elfin Butterfly Doudoroff's Hairstreak Butterfly


Echo Blue Butterfly


Hedge-row Hairstreak Butterfly


Pale Swallowtail Butterfly

Southern Buckthorn Butterfly Pacuvius Dusky-wing Butterfly


Spring Azure Butterfly
Cercocarpus Sp.
California Hairstreak Butterfly
Cercocarpus betuloides

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly


Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak
Chenopodium sp.
Common Sooty-wing Butterfly
Chenopodium album
Pygmy Sooty-wing Butterfly
Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus Acastus Checkerspot Butterfly
Cirsium Spp;
Thistle Crescent Butterfly


Mylitta Crescent Butterfly


Orseis Crescent Butterfly


Gabb's Checkerspot Butterfly


American Painted Lady


Painted Lady Butterfly
Collinsia heterophylla
Editha Checkerspot Butterfly


Chalcedon Checkerspot
Corethrogyne filaginifolia
Gabb's Checkerspot Butterfly

Echo Blue Butterfly

Spring Azure Butterfly
Cornus occidentalis
Spring Azure Butterfly


Wind's Hairstreak Butterfly
Cowania mexicana
Desert Elfin
Cryptantha sp
Painted Lady Butterfly
Cuscuta Sp.
Western Elfin Butterfly


Doudoroff's Hairstreak Butterfly
Cryptantha sp
Painted Lady
Cupressus forbesii
Ines Hairstreak Butterfly
Cupressus sargentii
Muir's Hairstreak Butterfly
Dalea Spp.
Southern Dog-face Butterfly
Danthonia californica
Lindsey's Skipper


Columbian Skipper
Descurainia sp Edwards's Marble


Large Marble


Dappled Marble


Rosy Marble


Cabbage Butterfly


Great Basin White


Checkered White


Peak White
Descurainia pinnata
Sara Orange-tip Butterfly


Felder's Orange-tip Butterfly


Desert Orange Tip
Descurainia richardsonii
Edwards's Marble Butterfly
Diplacus Sp.
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Distichlis Spicata
Sandhill Skipper


Wandering Skipper


Eunus Skipper
Dodecatheon spp.
Gray Blue Butterfly


Arctic Blue Butterfly
Dudleya lanceolata

Sonora Blue Butterfly


Human Folly Butterfly
Elymus spp.
Woodland Skipper
Encelia californica
Fatal Metalmark Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly


Dusky Metalmark Butterfly
Eriogonum elongatum
Buckwheat Copper

Gorgon Copper Butterfly
Eriogonum fasciculatum Acmon Blue Butterfly Mormon Metalmark Butterfly

Mournful Dusky-wing Butterfly

Tailed Copper Butterfly


Gray Hairstreak


Green Hairstreak Butterfly


Brown Elfin
Eriogonum incanum
Lembert's Hairstreak Butterfly
Eriogonum inflatum
Mormon Metalmark Butterfly
Eriogonum latifolium
Mormon Metalmark Butterfly


Green Hairstreak Butterfly
Eriogonum microthecum
Elvira's Blue Butterfly
Eriogonum nudum
Mormon Metalmark Butterfly


Buckwheat Copper


Gorgon Copper Butterfly
Eriogonum parvifolium
El Segundo Blue Butterfly
Eriogonum plumatella
Elvira's Blue Butterfly
Eriogonum pusillum
Mojave Blue Butterfly
Eriogonum reniforme
Mojave Blue Butterfly


Small Blue Butterfly
Eriogonum spp. Gray Hairstreak Bramble Hairstreak Butterfly

American Painted lady Comstock's Hairstreak Butterfly

Mormon metalmark Common Hairstreak Butterfly



Gorgon Copper Butterfly


Blue Copper Butterfly


Acmon Blue Butterfly


Square-spotted Blue Butterfly


Dotted Blue Butterfly


Mojave Blue Butterfly


Edward's Blue Butterfly


Mormon Metalmark Butterfly


Elvira's Blue Butterfly


Bernardino Blue Butterfly


California Green Hairstreak Butterfly


Buckwheat Blue
Eriogonum umbellatum
Blue Copper
Eriogonum wrightii

Mormon Metalmark Butterfly
Eriogonum wrightii subscaposum
Veined Blue Butterfly


Erysimum spp.
Large Marble Butterfly
Festuca idahoensis
Sonora Skipper

Lindsey's Skipper
Fraxinus spp.
Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly
Glycyrrhiza lepidota
Melissa Blue Butterfly
Gnaphalium sp
American Painted Lady
Haplopappus linearifolius Siva Hairstreak  
Helianthus annuus
Bordered Patch Butterfly
Hibiscus sp
Common Hairstreak Butterfly

Powdered Skipper
Horkelia bolanderi
Rural Skipper
Horkelia fusca
Edith's Copper Butterfly


Rural Skipper
Horkelia tenuiloba
Edith's Copper Butterfly
Isomeris arborea
Becker's White Butterfly
Juniperus californica
Skinner's Hairstreak Butterfly


Silva Hairstreak


Muir's Hairstreak Butterfly


Leda Hairstreak
Juniperus osteosperma
Siva Hairstreak Butterfly



Clench's Hairstreak
Koeleria macrantha
Columbian Skipper
Lathyrus spp.
Marine Blue Butterfly


Northern Blue Butterfly


Western Tailed Blue Butterfly


Silvery Blue Butterfly
Lavatera assurgentiflora
West Coast Lady Butterfly

Common White Butterfly
Lepidium fremontii
Edwards's Marble Butterfly


Western White Butterfly
Linum sp
Variegated Fritillary Butterfly
Lobelia dunnii serrata Western Tiger Swallowtail

Large white skipper
Lomatium sp.

Edward's Swallowtail Butterfly
Lotus sp.
Acmon Blue Butterfly


Eastern tailed Blue Butterfly


Greenish blue Butterfly


Northern Blue Butterfly


Northern Cloudy-wing Butterfly


Western Tailed Blue Butterfly
Lotus argophyllum
Avalon Hairstreak Butterfly
Lotus crassifolius
Silver-spotted Skipper
Lotus parshianus
Acmon Blue Butterfly


Afranius Dusky-wing Butterfly
Lotus scoparius
Alfalfa Butterfly

Blues Clouded Sulfur Butterfly

Chalcedon Checkerspot butterfly Bramble Hairstreak Butterfly



Avalon Hairstreak Butterfly


Marine Blue Butterfly


Acmon Blue Butterfly


Funereal Duskywing Butterfly


Southern Blue Butterfly


California Green Hairstreak Butterfly
Lupinus albifrons
Icarioides Blue Butterfly


Arrowhead Blue Butterfly






Lupinus densiflorus
Icarioides Blue Butterfly


Silvery Blue Butterfly
Lupinus excubitus
Arrowhead Blue Butterfly


Evius Blue Butterfly
Lupinus formosus
Icarioides Blue Butterfly
Lupinus hirsutissimus
Arrowhead Blue Butterfly
Lupinus lyalli
Shasta Blue Butterfly
Lupinus versicolor
Icarioides Blue Butterfly
Lupinus spp.
Sooty Gossamer-wing Butterfly


Common Hairstreak Butterfly


Northern Blue Butterfly


Melissa Blue Butterfly


Icarioides Blue Butterfly


Silvery Blue Butterfly


Arrowhead Blue Butterfly


Acmon Blue, or Silver Studded Blue
Olneya tesota
Funereal Dusky-wing Butterfly
Orthocarpus densiflorus 
Editha Checkerspot Butterfly


Arachne Checkerspot Butterfly
Penstemon sp.
Monache Checkerspot Butterfly


Checkerspot butterfly
Penstemon azureus
Buckeye


Cinereous Blue Butterfly
Petrophytum caespitosum



Spring Azure Butterfly


Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly


Pine White Butterfly
Phorodendron flavescens
Western Brown Elfin Butterfly
Pinus jeffreyi,
Pinus murrayana,
Pinus ponderosa,
Pinus radiata

Pine White Butterfly

Western Banded Elfin Butterfly


Gray Hairstreak

Edith Checkerspot Butterfly
Plantago erecta
Buckeye Butterfly
Plantago lanceolata
Painted Lady
Plantago major
Buckeye Butterfly
Platanus racemosa
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Poa sp
Roadside skipper
Poa pratensis
Field skipper
Poa scabrella
Comma skipper
Populus Spp.
Arizona Viceroy Butterfly


Dreamy Dusky-wing


Lorquin's Admiral Butterfly


Mourning Cloak Butterfly


Weidemeyer's Admiral


Western Tiger Swallowtail


Wide-banded Admiral
Populus fremontii
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Populus tremuloides
Western Tiger Swallowtail


Weidemeyer's Admiral
Populus trichocarpa
Wide-banded Admiral


Western Tiger Swallowtail


Persius Dusky-wing Butterfly
Prosopis glandulosa
Palmer's Metalmark Butterfly


Long-tailed Skipper


Henne Comstock's Hairstreak


Cerunus Blue Butterfly


Reakirt's Blue Butterfly
Prosopis pubescens
Cerunus Blue Butterfly


Palmer's Metalmark Butterfly
Prunus sp
Coral Hairstreak Butterfly
Prunus ilicifolia
Pale Swallowtail Butterfly
Prunus subcordata
Coral Hairstreak Butterfly
Prunus virginiana
Lorquin's Admiral Butterfly


Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly
Quercus agrifolia
California Sister Butterfly


Mournful Dusky-wing Butterfly


Propertius Dusky-wing Butterfly
Quercus chrysolepis
Canyon Oak Hairstreak


California Sister Butterfly


Boisduval's Hairstreak Butterfly
Quercus douglasii
Gold-hunter's Hairstreak


Mournful Duskywing butterfly
Quercus dumosa
Gold-hunter's Hairstreak


Nut Brown Hairstreak


Santa Monica Mountains Hairstreak
Quercus durata
Sleepy Dusky-wing butterfly
Quercus garryana
Propertius Dusky-wing Butterfly
Quercus lobata
Mournful Duskywing butterfly
Quercus suber
Mournful Duskywing butterfly
Quercus spp.
California Hairstreak


Echo Blue Butterfly


Western Oak Duskywing


California Sister Butterfly


Canyon Oak Hairstreak
Quercus vaccinifolia
California Sister Butterfly
Quercus wislizenii
Gold-hunter's Hairstreak
Rhamnus California
Pale Swallowtail Butterfly


Yellow Copper
Rhamnus crocea
Hermes Copper


Pale Swallowtail Butterfly
Rhamnus spp.
Pale Swallowtail Butterfly


Painted lady


Gray Hairstreak
Rhododendron_occidental
Rustic Anglewing Butterfly


Sylvan Anglewing Butterfly


Green Comma Butterfly
Rhus trilobata
Comstock's Hairstreak
Ribes aureum
Tailed copper butterfly
Ribes divaricatum
Oreas Anglewing
Ribes Spp.
Tailed Copper butterfly


Zephyr Anglewing


Cloudy Copper Butterfly
Rumex crispus
Great Copper Butterfly
Rumex hymenosepalus
Great Copper Butterfly
Salicornia ambigua
Pygmy Blue Butterfly
Salix spp.
Dryope Hairstreak Butterfly


Lorquin's Admiral Butterfly


Mourning Cloak Butterfly


Arizona Viceroy Butterfly


Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly



Weidemeyer's Admiral Butterfly



Wide-banded Admiral Butterfly



Sylvan Hairstreak Butterfly
Sarcostema cynanchoides
Striated Queen Butterfly
Sarcostema hirtellum
Striated Queen Butterfly
Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry clearwing is a very fast flier that mimics a bumblebee. - grid24_6
Yeah I know it's a moth, but it's a cutie.
Stachys pycnantha California Dogface Butterfly
Stanleya spp.
Becker's White Butterfly
Stipa nevadensis.
Uncas Skipper
Stipa occidentalis
Nevada Skipper
Stipa thurberiana
Comma Skipper Butterfly
Symphoricarpos rivularis
Colon Checker Spot butterfly


Snow berry Clearwing moth
Thamnosma montana
Wright's Swallowtail butterfly


Alexandra Sulfur butterfly


Alfalfa Butterfly
Thermopsis macrophylla
Persius Dusky-wing butterfly
Thermopsis pinetorum
Persius Dusky-wing butterfly
Tauschia spp.
Anise Swallowtail butterfly
Trichostema lanatum California Dogface Butterfly


Checkerspot

Large White skipper Butterfly

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly
Trifolium sp.
Acmon Blue butterfly


Alfalfa butterfly


Eastern tailed Swallowtail Butterfly


Greenish Blue Butterfly


Northern cloudy-wing butterfly


Shasta Blue Butterfly


Southern Dog-face butterfly
Trifolium breweri
Greenish Blue Butterfly
Trifolium longipes
Greenish Blue Butterfly
Trifolium monanthum
Greenish Blue Butterfly


Mexican cloudy-wing Butterfly
Trifolium repens
Alexandra Sulfur
Trifolium wormskjoldii
Greenish Blue Butterfly


Diverse Cloudy-wing butterfly
Urtica sp
Urtica holosericea
Satyr Anglewing


Milbert's Tortoiseshell


Red Admiral Butterfly
Vaccinium caespitosum
Behr's Sulfur Butterfly
Vicia spp
Alfalfa butterfly


Northern Blue Butterfly


Silvery Blue Butterfly


Western Sulfur Butterfly
Vicia gigantea
Western Tailed Blue


Silvery Blue Butterfly
Viola pedunculata Callippe Fritillary Butterfly
Viola spp. Apache Fritillary Butterfly

Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly


Callippe Fritillary Butterfly


Crown Fritillary Butterfly



Egleis Fritillary Butterfly


Hydaspe Fritillary Butterfly


Leto Fritillary Butterfly


Mormon Fritillary Butterfly


Nokomis Fritillary Butterfly


Unsilvered Fritillary Butterfly


Variegated Fritillary Butterfly


Western Meadow Fritillary


Zerene Fritillary Butterfly
Yucca brevifolia
Common Giant skipper
Yucca schidigera
Common Giant skipper
Yucca semibaccata
Common Giant skipper
Zauschneria californica California Dogface Butterfly White-lined Sphinx Moth

General Butterfly Information

To attract butterflies to your garden you need to grow two types of plants or have them growing in your area. The first type provide food for the larva of the butterflies. The second type are the nectar plants for the adult butterflies.

The most important butterfly plants (they support the largest variety of butterflies in California) that we grow are Eriogonum spp., Lupinus spp., Salix spp., Quercus spp, and Ceanothus spp.

The plants that the butterfly larvae live on we do not grow in numbers at the moment but will have in the near future are Viola spp., Astragalus spp., Lotus scoparius , Arabis spp. If these are in your area, try to protect them. Violets alone support 11 different subspecies of butterflies.

The most popular perennials (with adult butterflies) are Eriodictyon californicum, Salvia mellifera, Monardella antonina, Monardella villosa, and Stachys spp. Garth and Tilden also state that Erysimum, Aesculus californica, and members of the sunflower family and mint family are used as nectar sources by adult butterflies.  Remember, you will not see very many butterflies in your garden if their larval food plants are not in your garden or nearby.

The most popular butterfly plants (to butterflies, that is, that we have observed) of the second type (nectar plants for adult butterflies) are listed below. You need to have plants flowering throughout the season. Then you will see butterflies spring through summer. They are listed as they flower through the season (starting with spring flowering up to the end of summer flowering).

(our observations in the central coast ranges, and at the nursery)

The Santa Margarita nursery is on a Butterfly Flyway. In this little movie clip it can give you an idea of the numbers, about 100 butterflies per one hundred feet per minute.

References:

Comstock, John A. Butterflies of California. 1989 (old and ugly 1927 on new paper)
Garth, John S. and Tilden, J. W., California Butterflies, University of California Press, 1986
Glassberg, Jefferey. Butterflies through Binoculars, The West. 2001
Heath, Fred. An Introduction to Southern California Butterflies., 2004
Kaufman, Kenn and Jim Brock. Butterflies  of North America.
Opler,  Paul A and Amy Bartlett A Wright. Western Butterflies, Peterson Field Guides,1999
Mattoni, Rudi. Butterflies of Greater Los Angeles, 1990, Beverly Hills CA
Scott, James A.. The Butterflies of North America. 1986,
Stewart, Bob. Common Butterflies of California, 1997
Thomas C. Emmel and John F. Emmel. The Butterflies of Southern California.

More Butterflies