Hairstreak Butterfly Host Plants
of North America







This list of Hairstreak butterfly host plants
covers species found in North America and some Central and South American butterflies.


View Host Plants for Butterflies for All butterfly families click here




Hairstreaks are in the Lycaenidae Family, or Gossamer-Winged butterflies.  Included along with them are Blues and Coppers. Elfin's and Azure's also fall under these catagories.

A brief summary of host plants that each group prefers is as follows:

Blues

  • Alfalfa
  • Clovers
  • Dogwoods
  • Legumes
  • Lupines
  • Meadow Sweet
  • Vetches
  • Wild Cherry


Coppers

  • Docks
  • Knotweeds
  • Sorrels
  • Wild Buckwheat


Hairstreaks

  • Bearberry
  • Blueberries
  • Butternut
  • Hickories
  • Legumes
  • Mallows
  • Oaks


Individual Hairstreak butterfly and their host plants


1) Achmon Blue

  • Buckwheat (Eriogonum)
  • Saffron (E. Crocatum)
  • St. Catherines Lace (E. Giganteum)

2) American Copper

  • Buckwheat (Polygonaceae)
  • Curled/Curly Dock (Rumex Crispus)
  • Mountain (Oxyria Digyna)
  • Sorrel (Rumex Acetosa) especially Sheep (R. Acetosella)

3) Appalachian Azure

  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga Racemosa)


4) Atala - Found in Tropical areas

  • Zamia (Zamiaceae) especially Coontie


5) Banded Hairstreak

  • Hickory (Carya) especially Shag Bark (C. Ovata)
  • Oak (Quercus) especially Bluejack (Q. Marilandica), Bur (Q. Macrocarpa), Southern Red (Q. Falcata), White (Q. Alba)
  • Walnut (Juglans) especially Black (J. Nigra), River/Texas (J. Microcarpa)


6) Blue Hairstreak - see Great Purple


7) Bronze Copper

  • Dock (Rumex) especially curled/curly (R. Crispus), Water (R. Orbiculatus)


8) California Hairstreak

  • Oak (Quercus) escpecially California White, Roble Oak, Valley Oak


9) Cassius Blue

  • Bean (Phaseolus) especially Lima (P. Limensis), Garden (P. Vulgaris),
  • Blackbead (Jiringa)
  • Downy Milk-Pea (Galactia Volubilis)
  • Indigo (Indigofera)
  • Leadwort (Plumbago) especially Cape (P. Auriculata/Capensis)
  • Rattlebox (Crotalaria) - I have also seen this as Rattle-Pod.
  • Tick-Clover (Desmodium)
  • Wild Plumbago (Plumbago Scandens)
  • Wild Tamarind (Lysiloma Latisiliqua)


10) Common Hairstreak

  • Hollyhock (Malva Alcea)
  • Mallow (Malva)
  • Marsh (Althaea Officinalis)
  • Rose (Alcea Rosea)


11) Ceraunus Blue

  • Bean (Phaseolus) especially Honey (P. Glandulosa), Lima (P. Limensis)
  • Fern (Acacia)
  • Least Snout Bean (Rhynchosia Minima)
  • Mesquite (Prosopis) especially Honey (P. Glandulosa)
  • Milk-Vetch (Astragalus)
  • Mimosa (Acacia) especially Humble Plant (M. Pudica), Sensitive Plant (M. Sensitiva)
  • Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista Fasciculata)
  • Purging Cassia (Cassia Fistula)
  • Rattlebox (Crotalaria)- I have also seen this as Rattle-Pod
  • Sensitive Pea (Chamaecrista Nictitans)
  • Wattle (Acacia)
  • Wild Senna (Cassia Marilandica)


12) Coral Hairstreak

  • Cherry (Prunus) including Black (P. Serotina)
  • Chokeberry (Aronia)
  • Plum (Prunus) including Sandhill Plum (P. Angustifolia)


13) Cyna Blue

  • Acanthus family (Bear's Breeches)


14) Dusky Azure

  • Goatsbeard (Aruneus Dioicus)
  • Rose (Rosaceae)


15) Dusky-Blue Groundstreak

  • Leaf detritus (or decomposing leaves) from many plant families.


16) Echo-Blue

  • Buckeye (Aesculus) especially California (A. Californica)
  • California Lilac (Ceanothus)
  • Dogwood (Cornus)
  • Oak (Quercus)
  • Spirea (Spiraea)


17) Edwards Hairstreak

  • Oak (Quiercus) especially Black (Q. Velutina), Bur (Q. Macrocarpa), White (Q. Alba)


18) Eastern Tailed Blue

  • Alfalfa (Medicago)
  • Bluebonnet (Lupinus)
  • Bush Clover (Lespedeza) especially Hairy Bush (L. hirta), Round Head Bush (L. Capitata)
  • Clover (Melilotus) especially Sour (M. Indicus), Yellow Sweet (M. Officinalis)
  • Crown Vetch (Coronilla Varia)
  • Deer Vetch (Lotus)
  • False Mint (Dicliptera Brachiata)
  • False Plains Indigo (Baptisia Australis)
  • Legumes (Fabaceae)
  • Medicks (Medicago)
  • Milk-Pea (Galactia)
  • Milk Vetch (Astragalus)
  • Pea-Vines (Lathyrus)
  • Pea family (Fabaceae)
  • Red Feathers (Trifolium Rubens)
  • Tick (Desmodium) including Hoary (D. Canescens), Maryland (D. Marilandica)
  • Trifolium including Red (T. Pratense), White (T. Repens)
  • Vetch (Hippocrepis) including Common (V. Sativa), Hairy (V. Villosa)


19) Frosted Elfin

  • Baptisia family especially Blue Wild Indigo (B. Australis), Green Wild Indigo (B. Sphaerocarpa)
  • Rattlebox (Crotalaria) - I have also seen this as Rattle-Pod
  • Wild Lupine (Lupinus Perennis)


20) Great Copper

  • Dock (Rumex) especially Curled/Curly (R. Crispus), Fiddle/Fiddleneck (R. Pulcher), Veined (R. Venosus)
  • Mountain Sorrel (Oxyria Digyna)
  • Sorrel (Rumex Acetosa)


21) Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly

  • Atkinsonia Ligustrina (Loranthaceae with Mistletoe habit)
  • Gaiadendron Punctatum (Loranthaceae with Mistletoe habit)
  • Mistletoe Family including Borer (Phoradendron Tomentosum)
  • Nuytsia Floribunda (Loranthaceae with Mistletoe habit)


22) Gray Hairstreak Butterfly

    The Gray Hairstreak Butterfly is so widely spread throughout North, Central and South America it is considered a pest. Probably because it feeds on so much, as this list shows..
  • Alfalfa (Medicago)
  • Alkali (Malvaceae)
  • Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum Halicacabum)
  • Beggarweed (Desmodium Genus)
  • Broomweed (Malvaceae)
  • Bush Clover (Lespedeza) including Hairy-Bush (Lespedeza Capitata), Round-Head (Lespedeza Capitata)
  • California Coffeeberry (Rhamnus Californica)
  • Candlestick Tree (Senna Alata)
  • Common Clover (Trifolium Arvense)
  • Cotton (Gossypium Hirsutum)
  • Cowpea (Vigna Luteola)
  • Crimson (Trifolium Incarnatum)
  • Dock Family (Rumex)
  • Doveweed (Croton Setigerus)
  • False Indigo (Amorpha Fruticosa)
  • Garden Bean (Phaseolus Limensis)
  • Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ssp)
  • Ground Plum (Astragalus Crassicarpus)
  • Heart Seed (Cardiospermum Halicacabum)
  • Hog Peanut (Amphicarpaea Bracteata) Also known as Southern Hog Peanut
  • Hollyhock (Alcea)
  • Hops (Humulus Lupulus)
  • Lantana (Verbenaceae)
  • Lead Plant (Amorpha Conescens)
  • Legumes (Fabaceae)
  • Lima Bean (Phaseolus Limensis)
  • Maize (Zea Mays)
  • Mallows (Malvaceae) especially Common (M. Neglecta), Little (M.Parviflora), Running (M Rotundifolia)
  • Mints (Mentha)
  • Okra (Abelmoschus Esculentus)
  • Parsley Hawthorn (Crataegus Marshallii)
  • Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista Fasciculata)
  • Prostrate Milk-Pea (Galactia Regularis)
  • Rabbit Clover (Trifolium Arvense)
  • Rattlebush (Sesbariia Drummondii)
  • Red Feathers (Trifolium Rubens)
  • Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus Syriacus)
  • Sage (Salvia ssp)
  • Scarlet-Pea (Indigofera Miniata)
  • Small-Fruited Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum Halicacabum)
  • Soapbush (Guaiacum Angustifolium)
  • Strawberry (Fragaria)
  • Swamp Hibiscus/Texas Star (Hibiscus Coccineus)
  • Swamp Rose (Hibiscus Moscheutos)
  • Tall Winecup (Callirhoe Leiocarpa)
  • Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus Texensis)
  • Tick Clover (Desmodium ssp)
  • Turkey Mullein (Croton Setigerus)
  • Velvet-Leaved Tick-Trefoil (Desmodium Viridiflorum)
  • Vetch (Vicia spp)
  • White Clover (Trifolium Repens)
  • White Sweet Clover (Melilotus Albus)
  • Wild Buckwheat (Eriogonum ssp)
  • Willow Smartweed (Polygonaceae Lapathifolium)
  • Woolly Croton (Croton capitatus)
  • Yellow Bells (Tecoma Stans)


23) Gray Ministreak

  • Catclaw (Mimosa spp)


24) Harvester

    In North America this is the only carnivorous butterfly but it also eats plants.


  • Wooly Aphids (by far the preferred cuisine for the caterpillar. As an adult butterfly they enjoy Aphid Honeydew.)
  • Alder (Alnus)
  • Ash (Fraxinus)
  • Beech (Fagus)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus)
  • Wild Currant (Mahonia Trifoliolata)
  • Witch Hazel (Hamamelis)


25) Henry's Elfin

  • Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) Also known as Eastern Redbud.


26) Hickory Hairstreak Butterfly

  • Ashes (Fraxinus)
  • Hickories (Carya)
  • Oaks (Quercus)
  • Walnuts (Juglans)


27) Juniper Hairstreak Butterfly

  • Red Eastern Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana)


28) Lilac-Bordered Copper

  • Knotweed family (Persicaria)


29) Lustrous Copper

  • Dock (Rumex)especially Alpine (R. Alpinus)
  • Sorrel (Rumex) especially Sheep's (R. Acetosella)


30) Mallow Scrub Hairstreak Butterfly

  • Alkali (Malvaceae)
  • Rose Mallow (Hibiscus Moscheutos)
  • Indian Mallow (Abutilon Theophrasti)


31) Marine Blue

  • Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)
  • Bean (Phaseolus)
  • Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria Sinensis)
  • Honey Mesquite (Prosopis Glanduloosa)
  • Leadworts (Plumbago)
  • Milk-Pea (Galactia)
  • Milk Vetch (Astragalus)
  • Plumbago (Plumbago Auriculata)
  • Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea Purpurea)


32) Mournful Duskywing

  • Oaks (Quercus)


33) Northern Willow Hairstreak

  • Willows (Salix)


34) Olive Juniper Hairstreak

  • Cedar's (Juniperus) especially Eastern Red (J. Virginiana), Mountain (J. Ashei)


35) Purplish Copper

  • Common Sorrel (Rumex Acetosa)
  • Dock (Rumex) especially Curled/Curly (R. Crispus), Veined (R. Venosus)
  • Mountain Sorrel (Oxyria Digyna)


36) Red Banded Hairstreak Butterfly

  • Leaf detritus (or decomposing leaves) from many plant families.


37) Reakirt's Blue

  • Acacia (Mimosoideae)
  • Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)
  • Bundle Flower (Desmanthus)
  • Catclaw (Mimosa spp)
  • Deer-Vetch (Lotus)
  • Honey Mesquite (Prosopis Glandulosa)
  • Milk-Vetch (Astragalus)
  • Mimosa (Albuzia Julibrissin)
  • Purplish Prairie (Dalea Purpurea)
  • Scarlet Pea (Indigofera)
  • White Clover (Trifolium Repens)
  • White Prairie Clover (Dalea Candida)
  • White Sweet Clover (Melilotus Albus)
  • Yellow Sour Clover (Melilotus Indicus)
  • Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus Officianlis)


38) Ruddy Copper

  • Dock (Rumex) especially Curled/Curly (R. Crispus), Veined (R. Venosus)
  • Mountain Sorrel (Oxyria Digyna)
  • Sorrel (Rumex Acetosa)


39) Small Copper

    This butterfly is found in the Northern Hemisphere all over the world. Included are North America, Europe, Asia, North Africa, India and Japan.
  • Sorrel family (Rumex Acetosa)


40) Soapberry Hairstreak

  • Western Soapberry (Sapindus saponaria)


41) Southern Hairstreak

  • Oaks (Quercus) especially Blackjack (Q. Marilandica), Live (Q. Virginiana), Southern Red (Q. Falcata)


42) Spring Azure

  • Apple (Malus)
  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga Racemosa)
  • Blueberry (Vaccinium Arboreum)
  • Buckthorne (Rhamnaceae)
  • California Buckeye (Ceanothus spp)
  • California Lilac (Ceanothus spp)
  • Cherry (Prunus) especially Black (P. Serotina), Wild (P. Avium)
  • Dogwood (Cornus spp)
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)
  • New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus Americanus)
  • Redroot (Ceanothus Herbaceus)
  • Spirea Family
  • Sumac (Rhus spp) Can also be spelled Sumach
  • Viburnum Family
  • Wingstem (Verbesina Actinomens)
  • Plum (Prunus)


43) St. Christopher Hairstreak

  • Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum Halicacabum)
  • Heart-Seed (Cardiospermum Halicacabum)
  • Small-Fruited Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum Halicacabum)


44) Striped Hairstreak Butterfly

  • Azaleas (Rhododendron)
  • Black Cherry (Prunus Serotina)
  • Blueberries (Vaccinium)
  • Crabapple (Malus Coronaria)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus)
  • Oak (Quercus)
  • Service-berries (Amelanchier)


45) Summer Azure

  • Apple (Malus)
  • Blueberry (Vaccinium Arboreum)
  • Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae)
  • California Buckeye (Ceanothus spp)
  • California Lilac (Ceanothus spp)
  • Cherry (Prunus) especially Wild (P. Avium)
  • Dogwood (Cornus)
  • Frostweed (Verbesina Virginica)
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)
  • New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus Americanus)
  • Redroot (Ceanothus Herbaceus)
  • Spirea Family
  • Viburnum Family
  • Plum (Prunus)


46) Tailed Copper

  • Currant - Black, Red and White Currants (Ribes)
  • Gooseberry (Ribes)


47) Western Pine Elfin

  • Pines (Pinus) especially Monterey (P. Radiata), Ponderosa (P. Ponderosa), Western Yellow (P. Ponderosa)


48) Westrn Pygmy-Blue

  • Desert Horse-Purslane (Trianthema Portulacastrum)
  • Four-wing Saltbush (Atriplex Canescens)
  • Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium Album)Also known as White Goosefoot
  • Slim-Leaf Goosefoot (Chenopodium Leptophyllum)
  • Tumbleweed (Salsola spp)


49) White Mountain Hairstreak

  • Oak (Quercus) especially Blackjack (Q. Marilandica), Chapman's (Q. Chapmanii), Laurel (Q. Hemispaerica), Live (Q. Virginiana), Myrtle (Q. Myrtifolia), Shumard's (Q. Shumardii), Turkey (Q. Laevis), Water (Q. Nigra), White (Q. Alba)




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