Host Plants for Butterflies - Nymphalidae Family


This list of host plants for butterflies details the largest family - Nymphalidae, or Brushfooted.

Photo: Valentina Mihailenko



We cover North American species along with other Nymahalidae that are found in Central and South America as well. Click for more information about Brushfooted butterflies.

This category of caterpillar food is broken down into other pages of  butterfly host plants:


To view Host Plants for butterflies of all families click here




Following host plants for butterflies are for those Brushfoots starting with names H-Q.

The types of butterflies include -Admiral Butterfly, Anglewings, Buckeye Butterfly, Crescent/Checkerspot Butterfly, Fritillary Butterfly, Ladies, Leafwing Butterflies, Tortoiseshells. 
Click for a 'quick summary'.




1) Hackberry Emperor

       Elm family (Ulmus sp) including:

  • Winged (Ulmus alata)

       Hackberry (Celtis sp) including:

  • Hackberry Tree (Celtis occidentalis)
  • Netleaf (Celtis reticulata)
  • Southern Hackberry (Celtis laevigata)
  • Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata)


2) Harris Checkerspot

      Aster family (Asteraceae) including:

  • Flat-topped White (Doellingeria umbellata)


3) Hoary Comma

  • Currant (Ribes sp)
  • Azalea family (Rhododendron sp) including Western (Rhododendron occidentale)

    Important ... All of the following "Adenium obesum" are TOXIC to Cats And Dogs.
    As host plants for butterflies many of these plants are found in Hawaii.
  • Desert Azalea (Adenium obesum)
  • Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)
  • Impala Lily (Adenium osbesum)
  • Kudu Lily (Adenium osbesum)
  • Mock (Adenium obesum)


4) Hydaspe Fritillary

      Violet family (Viola sp) including:

  • Darkwood's (Viola orbicualta)
  • Goosefoot (Viola purpurea)
  • Hookedspur (Viola adunca)
  • Nuttall's (Viola nuttallii)
  • Pioneer (Viola glabella)
  • Roundleaf (Viola orbiculata)
  • Stream (Viola glabella)


5) Isabella's Heliconian (Heliconius Mimic)

  • Passionflowers (Passiflora sp)


6) Julia (Flambeau)

      Passionflower family (Passiflora sp)

  • Blue Passionvine (Passiflora caerulea)
  • Corky stemmed (Passiflora suberosa)
  • Maypop (Passiflora caerulea)
  • Yellow (Passiflora lutea)


7) Little Wood-Satyr Butterfly

      Grasses including:

  • Andropogon sp.
  • Arrhenatherum sp.
  • Lolium sp.
  • Orchard (Dactylis glomerata)
  • Pospalum sp.
  • Sedges (Carex sp)
  • Sesleria sp
  • Sisyrinchium sp. (Blue-eyed grasses)
  • Stipa sp. (Ornamental grasses) 
  • You may just stick to Ornamental type grasses as host plants for butterflies here. Many of these are plain grasses and/or weeds.


8) Lorquin's Admiral

  • Aspens (Pupulus sp)
  • Bireches (Betula sp)
  • Bitter Cherry (Prunus emarginata)
  • Chokecherry (Prunus demissa)
  • Cottonwood (Populus sp)
  • Cream Bush (Holodiscus discolor)
  • Oaks (Quercus sp)
  • Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor)
  • Poplars (Populus sp)
  • Rock Spiraea (Holodiscus discolor)
  • Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
  • Willows (Salix sp)


9) Malachite Butterfly

  • Acanthus sp.
  • Ruellia sp. (Mexican/Wild Petunia)
  • Yerba Papagayo sp.


10) Mangrove Buckeye

  • Black Mangroves (Avicennia germinans)


11) Meadow Fritillary

  • Brushes (Castilleja sp)
  • Violets (viola sp)


12) Mexican Fritillary

  • Brushes (Castilleja sp)
  • Passionflowers (Passiflora sp) including - 

                Maypop (Passiflora incarnata)

  • Moring Glorys (Ipomoea sp)
  • Violets (Viola sp)


13) Mexican Silverspot

  • Passionflowers (Passiflora sp)


14) Milbert's Tortoiseshell

      Nettles (Urtica sp) including:

  • Common (Urtica dioica)
  • Stinging (Urtica chamaedryoides)
  • Tall (Urtica procera)

Milkweed
Photo: Melinda Fawver

15) Monarch Butterfly

      Milkweed Family (Asclepias sp) including:

  • Antelope Horns (Asclepias asperula)
  • Balloon Plant (Platycodon grandiflorus)
  • Bluntleaf (Asclepias amplexicaulis)
  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tubersoa)
  • Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea)
  • Engelmann's (Asclepias engelmanniana)
  • Green (Asclepias viridis)
  • Green Milkweed Vine (Matelea reticulata)
  • Giant (Asclepias Calotropis gigantea)
  • Honeyvine (Ampelamus albidus)
  • Narrowleaf (Asclepias fascicularis)
  • Pink (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Sandvine (Cynanchum laeve)
  • Scarlet (Asclepias curassavica)
  • Showy (Asclepias speciosa)
  • Side-Cluster (Asclepias oenotheroides)
  • Slim (Asclepias linearis)
  • Slimleaf (Asclepias stenophylla)
  • Southern Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa rolfsii)
  • Swamp (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Swan Plant/Shrubs (Asclepias fruticosa)
  • Tropical (Asclepias curassavica)
  • Wand (Asclepias viridiflora)
  • White-flower (Asclepias variegata)
  • White Swamp (Asclepias perennis)
  • White Vine (Sarcostemma clausum)
  • Whorled (Asclepias verticillata)


16) Mourning Cloak (Camberwell Beauty)

  • Alders (Alnus serrulata)
  • Aspens (Populus sp)
  • Birches (Betula sp)
  • Carolina Basswood (Tilia americana)
  • Caommon Pear (Pyrus communis)
  • Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
  • Elms (Ulmus sp) including:

                American (Ulmus americana)

                Siberian (Ulmus pumila)

                Slippery (Ulmus rubra)

  • Hackberry (Celtis sp) including:

                 Common (Celtis occidentalis)

                  Netleaf (Celtis reticulata)

                  Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata reticulata)

  • Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  • Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana)
  • Maples (Acer sp)
  • Nettles (Urtica sp)
  • Poplars (Populus sp) including:

                  Black (Populus nigra)

                  White (Populus alba)

  • Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
  • Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
  • White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
  • Wild Rose (Rosa sp)
  • Willow (Salix sp) including Black (Salix nigra) Sandbar (Salix exigua) Weeping (Salix babylonica)


17) Mylitta Crescent

       Thistles (Cirsium sp) including:

  • Bull (Cirsium vulgare)
  • Cobweb (Cirsium occidentale)
  • Italian Plumeless (Cirsium Carduus pycnocephalus)


18) Northern Checkerspot

  • Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa)


19) Northern Pearly-Eye

  • Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
  • Virginia Cut Grass (Leersia virginica)


20) Pacific Fritillary

  • Violets (Viola sp)


21) Painted Lady

  • Aster family (Asteraceae)
  • Basket Flower (Centaurea americana)
  • Blueweed (Echium vulgare)
  • Borage (Borago officinalas)
  • Beet (Beta vulgaris)
  • Bull Thistle ((Cirsium vulgare)
  • Bull Mallow (Malva nicaeensis)
  • Burdock (Arctium lappa)
  • Cheeseweed (Malva parviflora)
  • Common Mallow (Malva neglecta)
  • Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Curry Plant (Helichrysum angustifolium)
  • Cobweb Thistle (Cirsium occidentale)
  • Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora)
  • Dooryard Plantain (Plantago major)
  • English Plantain (Plantogo lanceolata)
  • Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
  • High Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
  • Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
  • Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium album)
  • Little Mallow (Malva parviflora)
  • Mexican Sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • Milk-Thistle (Silybum marianum)
  • Mints (Mentha)
  • Musk-Thistle (Carduus nutans)
  • Nettles (Urtica sp)
  • Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
  • Running Mallow (Malva neglecta)
  • Sage (Salvia sp)
  • Silver Brocade (Artemisia stellariana)
  • Soy Bean (Glycine max)
  • Tansy (Tacacetum vulgare)
  • Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum)
  • Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum)
  • Tree Mallow (Lavatera maritima)
  • Western Sagewort (Artemisia campestris)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
  • Wavyleaf Thistle (Cirsium undulatum)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis)


22) Pearl Crescent

      Aster family (Asteraceae) including:

  • California (Aster lateriflorus)
  • Bush (Aster dumosus)
  • Heath (Aster ericoides)
  • New England (Aster novae-angliae)
  • Texas (Aster drummondii texanus)
  • Willowleaf (Aster praealtus)

      Hairy Tubetongue/Tubtongue (Siphonoglossa pilosella)

      Plantains (Plantago sp)

      Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua speciosa)


23) Phaon Crescent

  • Aster familly (Asteraceae)
  • Common Frogfruit (Lippia phyla nodiflora)
  • Capeweed (arctotheca calendula) Can be Invasive.
  • Carpetweed (Mollugo verticillata) Can be Invasive.
  • Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)
  • Gill-Over-The-Ground (Glenchoma hederacea)
  • Ground Ivy (Glenchoma hederacea)
  • Lanceleaf Frogfruit (Lippia lanceolata)
  • Match-Heads (Phyla nodiflora)
  • Plantains (Plantago sp)
  • Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua speciosa)
  • Verbenas (Verbenaceae)
  • Vervains (Verbenaceae)


24) [The] Postman Butterfly

  • Passionflower (Passiflora sp)


25) Owl Butterfly Considered a pest in S. America.

  • Banana (Musa)
  • Banana Leaves (Musa)


26) Queen Butterfly

      Heliotrope (Heliotropium sp)

      Milkweed family (Asclepias sp) including:

  • Antelope Horns (Asclepias asperula)
  • Bluntleaf (Asclepias amplexicaulis)
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tubersoa)
  • Climbing Milkweed (Sarcostemma cynanchoides)
  • Green (Asclepias viridis)
  • Pink (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Scarlet (Asclepias curassavica)
  • Slim (Asclepias linearis)
  • Southern Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa rolfsii)
  • Swamp (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Tropical (Asclepias curassavica)
  • White Swamp (Asclepias perennis)
  • White Vine (Sarcostemma clausum)


27) Question Mark

  • Basswood (Tilia sp)
  • Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

     Elms (Ulmus sp) including:

  • American (Ulmus americana)
  • Cedar (ulmus crassifoilo)
  • Chinese (Ulmus parvifolia)
  • Siberian (Ulmus pumila)
  • Slippery (Ulmus pumila)
  • Winged (Ulmus alata)

     False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)

     Hops (Humulus lupulus)

     Hackberry (Celtis sp) including:

  • Netleaf (Celtis reticulata)
  • Sugerberry (Celtis occidentalis)

     Nettle family (Urtica sp)

  • Stinging (Urtica chamaedryoides)
  • Tall (Urtica procera)




Host plants for butterflies of the Nymphalidae Family continues for:

Butterfly names starting with the letters R-Z.





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