Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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

Alfalfa or Orange Sulfur Butterfly, Colias eurytheme

Food sources utilized by the adult Alfalfa Butterfly

The adult Alfalfa Butterfly likes to sip nectar from milkweeds as well as Lessingia and other memebrs of the aster family. They seem to prefer plants in the Asteraseae and Leguminase families but are by no means restricted to them. In your butterfly garden some native milkweeds, a few Erigeron Wayne Rodericks,  and deerweed will do the trick.

Alfalfa or Orange Sulfur Butterfly, Colias eurytheme on a Chrysothamnus nauseosus, Rabbitbrush.

The Alfalfa Butterfly and the California Dog-face look very similar as they are in the same family. They can be distinguished from one another by the shape of their wings. The Alfalfa has a rounded fore wing, where as the California Dog-face has a fore wing that comes to a protruding little point.

Alfalfa Butterfly on a Lessingia - grid24_12
Picture of an Orange Sulfur Butterfly on a California Aster in the garden.
Alfalfa Butterfly, Colias eurytheme - grid24_12
Picture of an Alfalfa Butterfly, Colias eurytheme, with wings open
Alfalfa Butterfly. - grid24_12
Picture of an Alfalfa Butterfly on a milkweed plant in the garden.

The Larva of the Alfalfa Butterfly feeds on plants in the Pea family (Leguminase). Some of their favorites are deerweed, clover, vetch, loco weed. Of course they are named for their fondness of the crop plant Alfalfa, which is also in this family.

"You have a photograph of the butterfly Colias eurytheme in flight on the web. I would like your permission to reproduce it in the book I am writing entitled "Biosynthess in Insects", to be published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in England. It is of interest to the subject because this species makes pterin pigments (chemochromes) and also uses schemochromes to produce its colour. If permitted, your name would appear clearly associated with the picture and there would be an acknowledgment of your help".
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