Miami Blue butterfly

Miami Blue Chapter
North American Butterfly Association (NABA)



Butterfly Attracting Plants of South Florida

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The following is a preliminary* compilation of plants that serve as either a larval host or nectar source for South Florida's butterflies.

You will notice as you study the following list of butterfly attracting plants that many butterflies are bound to one larval (caterpillar) host plant. Therefore, it can be helpful to learn to identify as many of these plants and the caterpillars that feed on them as possible. In many cases, knowing a butterflys larval host plant can aid greatly in its identification.

On the other hand, most adult butterflies have many nectar source plants, with some species utilizing dung, sap, decaying leaves, carrion, fermenting fruit or aphid honeydew.

Compiled by David L. Lysinger, January 8, 2004.
With additional notes by Roger L. Hammer, March 14, 2004.

Swallowtails | Whites, Yellows and Sulphers | Hairstreaks | Blues | Metalmarks | Brush Footed Butterflies | Satyrs | Milkweed Butterflies | Skippers


Larval host

Nectar source



Pipevine Swallowtail

Pipevines and knotweeds


a variety of flowers including thistle and lantana

Polydamas Swallowtail


a variety of flowers including lantana

Zebra Swallowtail


moisture from sand and nectar from various flowers

Black Swallowtail

Carrots, parsley, fennel, Queen Anne's lace, dill and celery

a variety of flowers including milkweed and thistle

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush, red bay and sweet bay

a variety of flowers including thistle, milkweed and lantana

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Willow, sweet bay and ash

a variety of flowers

Giant Swallowtail

Wild lime, yellowwood, Hercules club, citrus, Biscayne prickly ash and torchwood

nectar from lantana, Bougainvillea, goldenrod and milkweed

Schaus' Swallowtail

Wild lime and torchwood

a variety of flowers including wild coffee and guava

Bahamian Swallowtail

Citrus, wild lime, and torchwood


Palamedes Swallowtail

Plants of the laurel family and red bay

a variety of flowers including thistle


Larval host

Nectar source


Great Southern White

Saltwort and peppergrass

a variety of flowers including saltwort, lantana and other verbena family members

Florida White Milkbark

Guiana plum and limber caper

a variety of flowers including lantana

Checkered White

Plants in the mustard family

nectar from the composite and mustard families

Cabbage White

Many plants in the mustard family

nectar from many plants including the mustard and caper families

Orange Sulphur

Plants in the pea family including alfalfa, white clover and white sweet clover

many flowers including milkweed, goldenrod and aster

Southern Dogface

Small-leaved plants in the pea family including alfalfa and leadplant; clovers and indigo

flowers including alfalfa, coreopsis, houstonia and verbena

Dainty Sulphur

Spanish needles

flowers from flowering plants, including aster, wild marigold and others

Little Yellow

Partridge pea and wild sensitive plant

flowers in the aster family including goldenrod

Mimosa Yellow

Sensitive plant, in the pea family; wild tamarind

various flowers

Dina Yellow

Mexican alvaradoa and bitterbush

nectar from various flowers including lantana

Sleepy Orange

Senna species

nectar from flowers including Spanish needles

Barred Yellow

Many plants in the pea family

a great variety of flowers including Spanish needles and joint vetches

Cloudless Sulphur

Bahama senna and privet senna

many flowers including cordia, bougainvillea, hibiscus, lantana and morning glory

Orange-barred Sulphur

Bahama senna, and privet senna

many flowers

Large Orange Sulphur

Blackbead, cat's claw, and wild tamarind

flowers including lantana, Spanish needles, bougainvillea, and hibiscus

Statira Sulphur

In Florida, Dalbergia and Calliandra both in the pea family

red-flowering plants including firebush

Lyside Sulphur


nectar from black mangrove and Spanish needles

Yellow Angled-Sulphur

Senna species

red and purple flowers including hibiscus and bougainvillea

Boisduval's Yellow

Senna species

a variety of flowers


Larval host

Nectar source


Great Purple Hairstreak


flowers including goldenrod,
Hercules club and Spanish needles


Coontie as well as other members of the cycad family

flowers including lantana, periwinkle, Spanish needles and wild coffee

White M Hairstreak

Live oak and other oak species

a variety of flowers including sumac, poinsettia, milkweed, lantana and goldenrod

Silver-banded Hairstreak

Young seeds of balloon vine

flowers of balloon vine

Amethyst Hairstreak

Albizia lebbeck

a variety of flowers including ape's earring, Brazilian pepper, Guarmachil and Spanish needles

Banded Hairstreak

Many species of oak

many flowers including
milkweed (preferred)

Southern Hairstreak

Many species of oak

a variety of flowers

Red-banded Hairstreak

Dead leaves from various trees and shrubs

a variety of flowers including tickseed sunflower and milkweed

Fulvous Hairstreak

Brazilian pepper

flowers of Brazilian pepper, Spanish needles and sea grape

Gray Hairstreak

Flowers and fruit from an almost endless variety of plants; most often lead tree

many flowers including milkweed, mint and goldenrod

Martial Scrub-Hairstreak

Florida trema and bay cedar

flowers including bay cedar, lantana, Brazilian pepper and Spanish needles

Bartram's Scrub-Hairstreak

Pineland croton

flowers of pineland croton and Spanish needles

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak

Plants in the mallow family; also bay cedar

many small-flowered plants


Larval host

Nectar source


Eastern Pygmy-Blue

Annual glassworts and saltwort in the amaranth family

flowers of palmetto palm and saltwort

Cassius Blue

Plumbago, rattlebox, hairy milk pea and lima beans

flowers of Spanish needles and creeping charlie

Ceraunus Blue

A variety of legumes including partridge pea and wild

flower nectar

Miami Blue

Balloon vine and nickerbean

flower nectar including Spanish

Nickerbean Blue

Pineland acacia, sweet acacia and caesalpinia

flower nectar including that of pineland croton, Spanish needles and pineland acacia


Larval host

Nectar source



Little Metalmark

Yellow thistle

short flowered composites


Larval host

Nectar source


American Snout


flowers including goldenrod and

Gulf Fritillary

Various passionflower vines

flowers including Spanish needles, cordias and composites


Various passionflower vines

flowers including lantana and Spanish needles

Zebra Heliconian

Various passionflower vines

nectar and pollen from flowers
including Spanish needles and lantana

Variegated Fritillary

A variety of plants including passionflower, violets, purslane, stonecrop and moonseed

flowers of many plants including common milkweed, dogbane, and tickseed sunflower

Phaon Crescent

Creeping Charlie and mat grass in the verbena family

nectar from flowers of creeping Charlie and Spanish needles

Pearl Crescent

Several species of aster

nectar from a great variety of flowering plants including swamp milkweed, Spanish needles and asters

Cuban Crescent

Shrimp plant and crimson dicliptera

nectar from flowers, mostly Spanish needles

Red Admiral

Many plants of the nettle family

red admirals prefer sap flows on trees, fermenting fruit and bird droppings

American Lady

Plants in the sunflower family

nectar from flowers including aster, goldenrod and common milkweed

Painted Lady

More than 100 host plants have been noted; favorites include thistle, mallow and various legumes

prefers nectar from composites 3-6 feet high, especially thistle; also aster and blazing star

Hackberry Emperor

Various hackberries and sugarberry

sap, rotting fruit, dung and carrion

Tawny Emperor

Various hackberries and sugarberry

sap, rotting fruit, dung and carrion

White Peacock

Smooth water-hyssop and creeping Charlie

Spanish needles


Plants in the willow family

early in the season when few flowers are available Viceroys feed on aphid honeydew, carrion, dung and decaying fungi. Later generations feed more often at flowers, including aster, goldenrod and Spanish needles

Common Buckeye

Plants from the snapdragon, verbern, plantain and acanthus families

nectar from flowers including aster and tickseed sunflower

Mangrove Buckeye

Black mangrove

flower nectar

Tropical Buckeye

Stemodia, creeping charlie, ruella and porterweed

flower nectar


Green shrimp plant

rotting fruit, bird droppings and nectar from flowers

Florida Purplewing


decaying fruit and nectar from cordia and lantana

Dingy Purplewing


rotting fruit, dung and sap; seldom flower nectar

Florida Leafwing

Pineland croton

rotting fruit and dung

Ruddy Daggerwing

Short-leaf fig and strangler fig

nectars at flowers of giant milkweed


Larval host

Nectar source



Carolina Satyr

Several grasses including centipede and St. Augustine

sap and rotting fruit

Georgia Satyr

Sedges and grasses

rotting fruit


Larval host

Nectar source





nectar from all milkweed flowers as well as thistle



flower nectar



nectar from flowers including milkweeds and Spanish needles


Larval host

Nectar source



Mangrove Skipper

Red mangrove

nectar from flowers including mangrove, Spanish needles, citrus and bougainvillea

Hammock Skipper

Jamaica dogwood and pongam

flower nectar

Zestos Skipper

Galactia, in the pea family

nectar from flowers including
Spanish needles, lantana and bougainvillea

Silver-spotted Skipper

Woody legumes

The Silver-spotted Skipper almost never visits yellow flowers but favors blue, red, purple and pink.

Long-tailed Skipper

Various legumes including various beans, hog peanuts, beggar ticks, blue pea and wisteria

nectar from flowers including bougainvillea, lantana and Spanish needles

Dorantes Longtail

Various legumes including wild and cultivated beans and beggar ticks

nectar from flowers including Spanish needles, lantana and bougainvillea

Northern Cloudywing

Various plants in the pea family including beggar ticks and clovers

nectar from blue, purple, pink or white flowers

Juvenal's Duskywing


nectar from flowers including dandelion and blueberry

Horace's Duskywing

Various oaks

nectar from flowers, up to 4.5 feet tall including dogbane, goldenrod and peppermint

Florida Duskywing

Locust-berry and Barbados cherry

nectar from flowers of low plants and shrubs including Spanish needles, pineland croton and lantana

Sleepy Duskywing

Various oaks

nectar from heaths including wild azalea and blueberry

Zarucco Duskywing

Herbaceous legumes including black locust, hairy bush clover and Colorado River hemp

nectar from flowers including
Spanish needles

Tropical Checkered-Skipper

Several plants in the mallow family including broomweed, mallow, hollyhock and velvet-leaf

nectar from flowers of Sidas and Spanish needles

Hayhurst's Scallopwing

Bloodleaf and occasionally chaff flowers

nectar from flowers including marigold, knotweed, spearmint, cucumber and clovers

Swarthy Skipper

Bluestem grasses

nectar from low-growing flowers, including selfheal, red clover and peppermint

Neamathla Skipper

Bluestem grasses

flower nectar

Three-spotted Skipper

Guinea grass

flower nectar

Euphala Skipper

Various grasses including Johnson grass, Bermuda and sugarcane

nectar from flowers including alfalfa, croton, and creeping charlie

Southern Skipperling

Bermuda grass

nectar from flowers such as

Least Skipper

Various grasses including marsh millet and cultivated rice

nectar from low growing flowering plants including wood sorrel, swamp verbena, pickerelweed, Spanish needles lantata and white clover

Fiery Skipper

Various grasses including Bermuda, crabgrass and St. Augustine

nectar from flowers including sweet pepperbush, swamp
milkweed, aster and thistle


Grasses including Bermuda and St. Augustine

nectar from Spanish needles and lantana


Grasses including Bermuda, crabgrass and St. Augustine

nectar from many flowers including milkweeds, button bush and thistles

Dotted Skipper


nectar from flower of prickly pear cactus, alfalfa, and thistle

Tawny-edged Skipper

Panic grasses, crabgrass and blue grass

nectar from flowers including alfalfa, dogbane and thistle

Baracoa Skipper


flower nectar

Southern Broken-Dash

Paspalum and St. Augustine grass

nectar from flowers including pickerelweed and sweet pepper bush

Dun Skipper

Various sedges

nectar from white pink or purple flowers

Delaware Skipper

Various grasses

nectar from pink and white flowers including milkweeds, marsh fleabane, thistles and pickerelweed

Arogos Skipper

Big bluestem and other native grasses

nectar from flowers including ox-eye daisy, coreopsis and dogbane

Byssus Skipper

Eastern gama grass

nectar from flowers including

Meske's Skipper

Little blue stem and arrowfeather threeawn

nectar from blazing star, pickerelweed and others

Dusted Skipper

Little bluestem and big bluestem

nectar from flowers including wild strawberry, blackberry and wild hyacinth

Twin-spot Skipper


nectar from flowers including thistle

Clouded Skipper

Various grasses including St. Augustine and wooly beard grass

nectar from pink purple and white flowers including Spanish needles, buttonbush and lantana

Aaron's Skipper

Possibly smooth cordgrass

nectar from flowers including
pickerelweed and marsh fleabane

Palatka Skipper


nectar from pickerelweed and other plants

Palmetto Skipper

Saw palmetto

nectar from pickerelweed

Berry's Skipper


nectar from pickerelweed

Dusky Roadside-Skipper


flower nectar

Ocola Skipper

Rice, sugarcane and trompelilla

nectar from flowers including
lantana, Spanish needles, buttonbush and pickerelweed

Salt Marsh Skipper

Seashore saltgrass

nectar from flowers including privet, marsh fleabane, thistle and verbena

Obscure Skipper

Various grasses and sugarcane

nectar from rattlebox

Cofaqui Giant-Skipper

Bear grass, Spanish bayonet and small yucca

adults do not feed, but males sip moisture from mud

Yucca Giant-Skipper

Bear grass, Spanish bayonet and small yucca

adults do not feed, but males sip moisture from mud

Monk Skipper

Various palms including saw palmetto, date and coconut

nectar from hibiscus and other large flowers

Brazilian Skipper

Cannas and alligator flag

nectar from large white and pale yellow flowers

* Preliminary lists are works in progress. If you have additions or corrections, please notify the compiler at or write to Miami Blue Chapter, P.O. Box 141667, Coral Gables, FL 33114.

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