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Butterfly Host List

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

Butterflies most common to the South/ South East United States and their Host Plants

The exceptions are South Florida and South Texas which get Butterflies we only dream about and I only covered a few of the Skippers as there are far to many of them.

Note some plants listed are invasive and I do not recommend them being plant but are listed only because they came up in my research and you may come across caterpillars on them wild when you are out searching. Always research your plants and grow natives local to your area when at all possible


Giant Swallowtail
- Citrus family, Rutaceae
1. Ptelea trifoliata - Common Hoptree, Wafer Ash
2. Zanthoxylum clava - Herculis - Hercules-club
3. Zanthoxylum fagara - Wild Lime
4. Zanthoxylum americanum - Prickly Ash
5. Citrus aurantifolia - Key Lime
6. Citrus limon - Lemon
7. Citrus reticulata - Tangerine
8. Citrus sinensis - Sweet Orange
9. Cirtrus x paradisi - Grapefruit
10. Citrus aurantium - Sour Orange
11. Ruta graveolens - Rue

Spicebush Swallowtail
- Laurel family, Lauraceae
1. Persea borbonia var. borbonia - Red Bay
2. Persea borbonia var. humilis - Silk Bay
3. Persea palustris - Swamp Bay
4. Sassafras albidum - Sassafras
5. Lindera benzoin - Spicebush
6. Cinnamomum camphora - Camphor tree
7. Litsea aestivalis - Pondspice

Pipevine Swallowtail
- Pipevine family, Aristolochiaceae
1. Aristolochia macrophylla - big leaf pipevine
2. Aristolochia tomentosa - Woolly pipevine
3. Aristolochia serpentaria - Virginia snakeroot
4. Aristolochia californica - California pipevine
5. Aristolochia fimbriata - white-veined Duchman's pipe
6. Aristolochia duror-
7. Aristolochia littoralis/elegans- Calico Flower
8. Aristolochia gigantea
9. Aristolochia trilobata
10. Aristolochia ringens

Eastern Black Swallowtail
- Rue family, Rutaceae
- Carrot family, Apiaceae
1. Ruta graveolens - Rue
2. Anethum graveolens - Dill
3. Foeniculum vulgare - Sweet Fennel, also Bronze Fennel
4. Petroselinum crispum - Parsley
5. Cicuta maculata - Spotted Water Hemlock - extremely poisonous if consumed
6. Oxypolis filiformis - Water Cowbane - extremely poisonous if consumed
7. Ptilimnium capillaceum - Mock Bishopweed
8. Spermolepis divaricata - Roughfruit Scaleseed
9. Eryngium cuneifolium - Wedgeleaf Eryngo
10. Daucus carota - Queen Anne's Lace

Palamedes Swallowtail
- Laurel family, Lauraceae
1. Persea borbonia var. borbonia - Red Bay
2. Persea borbonia var. humilis - Silk Bay
3. Persea palustris - Swamp Bay
4. Sassafras albidum - Sassafras

Zebra Swallowtail
- Custard-Apple family, Annonaceae
1. Asimina triloba - Common Pawpaw
2. Asimina pygmaea - Dwarf Pawpaw
3. Asimina angustifolia - Slim leaf Pawpaw
4. Asimina incana - Wooly Pawpaw
5. Asmina obovata - Bigflower Pawpaw
6. Asmina parviflora - Smallflower Pawpaw
7. Asmina pygmaea - Dwarf Pawpaw
8. Asmina reticulata - Netted Pawpaw
9. Asmina tetramera - Fourpetaled Pawpaw
10. Deeringothamnus pulchellus - Pretty False Pawpaw
11. Deeringothamnus rugelii - Rugel's False Pawpaw

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
- Rose family, Rosaceae
- Magnolia family, Magnoliaceae
- Olive family, Oleaceae
1. Prunus serotina - Wild Black Cherry
2. Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Poplar
3. Magnolia virginiana - Sweetbay
4. Fraxinus americana - White Ash
5. Fraxinus caroliniana - Carolina Ash
6. Fraxinus pennsyvanica - Green Ash

- Bean family, Fabaceae

Cloudless Sulphur & Sleepy Orange
1. Cassia/Senna alata - Candlestick plant
2. Chamaecrista fasciculata - Partridge Pea
3. Chamaecrista nictitans - Sensative pea
4. Cassia obtusifolia - Sicklepod
5. Cassia bicapsularis - Christmas Senna
6. Cassia surattensis - Glaucous Cassia
7. Senna mexicana - Bahama Senna
8. Senna ligustrina - Privet Senna
9. Cassia javanica - Apple Blossom Cassia, Pink Cassia as well
as many others in the Senna/Cassia family

Southern Dogface
1. Plants of the Pea family
2. Amorpha fruticosa - Bastard Indigobush
3. Dalea feayi - Feay's Prairie Clover
4. Dalea pinnata - Summer Farewell

Orange (Alfalfa) Sulphur
1. Plants of the Pea family
2. Melilotus albus - White Sweetclover
3. Trifolium repens - White Clover
4. Medicago lupulina - Black Medick
5. Medicago sativa - Alfalfa

Little Yellow
1. Plants in the Pea family
2. Mimosa strigillosa - Powderpuff


Cabbage White
- Mustard family, Brassicaceae
1. Brassica oleracea - Garden Vegetable Cabbage
2. Brassica juncea - India Mustard
3. Brassica nigra - Abyssinian Mustard
4. Brassica rapa - Turnip
5. Raphanus raphanistrum - Wild Radish
6. Raphanus sativus - Garden Radish

Great Southern White
- Mustard family, Brassicaceae
- Nasturtium family, Tropaeolaceae
- Saltwort family, Bataceae
1. Batris maritima - Saltwort
2. Cakile lanceolata - Coastal Searocket
3. Cardamine pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Bittercress
4. Lepidium virginicum - Virginia Pepperweed
5. Tropaeolum majus - Nasturtium

Checkered White
- Mustard family, Brassicaceae
1. mostly Virginia Pepperweed
2. Capsella bursa-pastoris - Shepherd's Purse

GOSSAMERS (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks, Harvester)

- In America, our only carnivorous butterfly.
They feed on woolly aphids of the genera schizoneura and pemphigus.

Great Purple Hairstreak
- Mistletoe family, Loranthaceae
1. Oak Mistletoe

King's Hairstreak
- Sweetleaf family, Symplocaceae
1. Symplocos tinctoria - Common Sweetleaf

Southern Striped Hairstreak
- Heath family, Ericaceae
- Rose family, Rosaceae
1. Vaccinium arboreum - Sparkleberry
2. Crataegus marshallii - Parsley Hawthorne

Henry's Elfin
- Holly family, Aquifoliaceae
- Pea family, Fabaceae
1. Ilex cassine - Dahoon Holly
2. Ilex opaca - American Holly
3. Cercis canadenis - Eastern Redbud - occassionaly

White-M Hairstreak
- Beech family, Fagaceae
1. Quercus geminata - Sand Live Oak
2. Quercus laurifolia - Laurel Live Oak
3. Quercus nigra - Water Oak
4. Quercus stellata - Post Oak
5. Quercus virginiana - Virginia Live Oak

Gray Hairstreak
- Mallow family, Malvaceae
- Pea family, Fabaceae
- Amaranth family, Amaranthaceae
- Aster family, Asteraceae
- Buckwheat family, Polygonaceae
- Buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae
- Soapberry family, Sapindaceae
1. Sida acuta - Common Fanpetals
2. Polygonella gracilis - Tall Jointweed
3. Chamaecrista fasciculata - Partridge Pea
4. Dalbergia ecastaphyllum - Coinvine
5. Desmodium incanum - Creeping Ticktrefoil
6. Desmodium paniculatum - Panicledleaf Ticktrefoil
7. Galactia regularis - Eastern Milkpea
8. Galactia volubilis - Downy Milkpea
9. Lupinus diffusus - Sky-Blue Lupine
10. Vigna luteola - Hairypod Cowpea
11. Phaseolus vulgaris - Garden Bean
12. Macroptilium lathyroides - Wild Bushbean
13. Froelichia floridana - Cottonweed - occassionaly
14. Palafoxia feayi - Feay's Palafox
15. Herissantia crispa - Bladder Mallow
16. Polygonum pensylvanicum - Pennsylvania Smartweed
17. Ceanothus americanus - New Jersey Tea
18. Cardiospermum corindum - Heartseed

Red-banded Hairstreak
- Bayberry family, Myricaceae
- Beech family, Fagaceae
- Cashew family, Anacardiaceae
1. Myrica cerifera - Southern Bayberry
2. Oaks
3. Schinus terebinthifolius - Brazilian Pepper
4. Mangifera indica - Mango

Eastern Pygmy Blue
- Amaranth family, Amaranthaceae
1. Sarcocornia perennis - Perennial Glasswort
2. Salicornia bigelovii - Annual Glasswort

Eastern Tailed-Blue
- Pea family, Fabaceae
1. Herbs in the Pea family and clover

Spring Azure
- Heath family, Ericaceae
- Buddleia family, Buddlejaceae
1. Oxydendrum arboreum - Sourwood
2. Dogwood
3. Buddleja davidii - Butterfly Bush
4. many other trees and shrubs

Little Metalmark
- Aster family, Asteraceae
1. Carphephorus odoratissimus - Vanillaleaf
2. Cirsium horridulum - Yellow Thistle
3. Mikania scandens - Climbing Hempvine


Gulf Fritillary & Variegated Fritillary
- Passionvine family, Passifloraceae
1. Passiflora incarnata - Maypop
2. Passiflora suberosa - Corky stemmed Passionvine
3. Passiflora lutea - Yellow Passionflower
4. Passiflora alto - 'Amethyst'/'Lavender Lady'/'Star of Mikan'
5. Passiflora caerulea - Blue Passionflower
6. Passiflora Sunburst Whorley
7. Passiflora allardii
8. Passiflora incense
9. Passiflora membranceae
10. Passiflora Platycodon
11. Passiflora morifolia
12. Passiflora edulis

(Admirals, Crescentspots, & Ladies)

Phaon Crescent
- Vervain family, Verbenaceae
- Acanthus family, Ancanthaceae
1. Phyla nodiflora - Turkey Tangle Fogfruit
2. Justicia ovata - Looseflower Waterwillow - occassionally

Pearl Crescent
- Aster family. Asteraceae
1. Symphyotrichum dumosum - Rice Button Aster

Question Mark
- Hackberry family, Celtidaceae
- Elm family, Ulmaceae
1. Celtis laevigata - Sugarberry Tree
2. Ulmus alata - Winged Elm
3. Ulmus americana - American Elm

Eastern Comma
- Elm family, Ulmaceae
- Nettle Family, Urticaceae
1. Ulmus spp.
2. Urtica spp. - Stinging Nettles
3. Laportea spp. - Nettles

Mourning Cloak
- Willow family, Salicaceae
- Elm family, Ulmus
1. Salix spp. - Willows
2. Ulmus spp. - Elms

American Lady
- Aster family, Asteraceae
1. Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium - Sweet Everlasting
2. Gamochaeta falcata - Narrowleaf Purple Everlasting
3. Gamochaeta pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Everlasting
4. Gamochatea purpurea - Spoonleaf Purple Everlasting
5. Pussytoes
6. Rabbit Tobacco

Painted Lady
- Aster family, Asteraceae
- Mallow family, Malvaceae
- Pea family, Fabaceae
1. Burdock
2. Cirsium horridulum - Yellow Thistle
3. Malva sylvestris - High mallow
4. Hollyhocks
5. Lupines

Red Admiral
- Nettle family, Urticaceae
1. Urtica dioica - Stinging Nettle
2. Urtica urens - Burning Nettle
3. Urtica chamaedryoides - Heartleaf Nettle
4. Boehmeria cylindrica - False Nettle
5. Parietaria floridana - Florida Pellitory

Common Buckeye
- Ancanthus family, Ancanthaceae
- Broomrape family, Orobanchaceae
- Plantain family, Plantaginaceae
- Vervain family, Verbenaceae
- Speedwell family, Veronicaceae
1. Dyschoriste spp. - Twinflower species Oblongleaf & Swamp
2. Agalinis fasciculata - Beach False Foxglove & other False Foxglove
3. Ruellia caroliniana - Wild petunia
4. Ruellia succulenta - Thickleaf Wild Petunia
5. Verbena hastata - Blue Vervain
6. Orthocarpus spp. - Owl's Clover
7. Plantagos - Virginia, English, & Common Plantain
8. Linarias - Canada & Apalachicola Toadflax
9. Occassionally Turkey Tangle Fogfruit

Red-spotted Purple
- Rose family, Rosaceae
- Willow family, Salicaceae
- Heath family, Ericaceae
1. Salix nigra - Black Willow
2. Salix caroliniana - Carolina Willow
3. Prunus serotina - Wild Black Cherry
4. Vaccinium stamineum - Deerberry

- Willow family, Salicaceae
1. Salix nigra - Black Willow
2. Salix caroliniana - Carolina Willow
3. Salix babylonica - Weeping Willow

Satyrs & Nymphs

Southern Pearly Eye
- Grass family, Poaceae
1. Arundinaria gigantea - Switchcane

Gemmed Satyr
- Grass family, Poaceae
1. Chasmanthium laxum - Slender Woodoats

Carolina Satyr
- Grass family, Poaceae
1. Axonopus fissifolius - Common Carpetgrass
2. Oplismenus hirtellus - Woodsgrass
3. Stenotaphrum secundatum - St. Augustinegrass
4. Urochloa distachya - Tropical Signalgrass

Georgia Satyr
- Grass family, Poaceae
- Cyperaceae family, Sedges
1. Andropogon spp. - Bluestems most probably
2. Sedge
3. Bulrush

Little Wood Satyr
- Grass family, Poaceae
1. Grasses

Common Wood Nymph
- Grass family, Poaceae
1. Andropogon virginicus - Broomsedge Bluestem
2. other Grasses


- Milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae
- Dogbane family, Apocynaceae
1. Asclepias currasavica - Tropical/Scarlet Bloodflower & Silky Gold Milkweed
2. Asclepias incarnata - Pink Swamp Milkweed
3. Cynanchum laeve - Honeyvine
4. Asclepias fascicularis - Narrow-leaf Milkweed
5. Asclepias speciosa - Showy Milkweed
6. Asclepias physocarpa - Balloon or Swan plant
7. Calotropis gigantea - Giant Milkweek or Crown Flower
8. Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly weed
9. Asclepias curtissii - Curtiss' Milkweed
10. Asclepias humistrata - Pinewoods Milkweed
11. Asclepias lanceolata - Fewflower Milkweed
12. Asclepias longifolia - Longleaf Milkweed
13. Asclepias perennis - White Swamp Milkweed
14. Asclepias tormentosa - Velvetleaf Milkweed

- Milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae
1. All of the above for Monarch except rarely A. tuberosa
2. Sarcostemma clausa - White Twinevine
3. Matelea floridana - Florida Milkvine
4. Morrenia odorata - Latex plant


Spread-winged Skippers

Silver-spotted Skipper
- Bean family, fabaceae
1. Amorpha fruticosa - Bastard Indigo
2. Robinia pseudoacacia - Black Locust
3. Amphicarpaea bracteata - American Hogpeanut
4. Apios americana - Groundnut
5. Wisteria frutescens - American Wisteria
6. Wisteria sinensis - Chinese Wisteria
7. Pueraria montana - Kudzu
8. Desmodium tortuosum - Dixie Ticktrefoil

Long-tailed Skipper
- Bean family, fabaceae
1. Centrosema arenicola - Pineland Butterfly Pea vine
2. Centrosema virgianum - Spurred Butterfly Pea vine
3. Clitoria mariana - Atlantic Pigeonwings vine
4. Clitoria ternatea - Blue Butterfly Pea/Asian Pigeonwings vine
5. many species of the Ticktrefoil(Desmodium)
6. many species of the Milkpea (Galactia)
7. Vigna luteola - Hairypod Cowpea vine
8. Sesbania punicea- Scarlet Wisteria Tree/Rattlebox
9. Wisteria spp.
10. Rhynchosia minima - Least Snoutbean
11. Glycine max - Soybean
12. Wild Bushbean & Garden Bean
13. Pueraria montana - Kudzu
* will also lay on Aristolochia tormentosa, Garden Radish and Showy Rattlebox but the young cats will not survive

Juvenal's & Horace's Duskywing
- Beech family, Fagaceae
1. many types of Oaks

Common Checkered, White Checkered, & Tropical Checkered Skipper
- Mallow family, Malvaceae
1. Sida acuta - Common Fanpetals
2. Sida rhombifolia - Cuban Jute
3. others in the Mallow family

Folded-winged/Grass Skippers

Fiery & Whirlabout Skipper
- Grass family, Poaceae
1. Cynodon dactylon - Bermudagrass
2. Stenotaphrum secundatum - St. Augustinegrass
3. Digitaria ciliaris - Southern Crabgrass

This message was edited Jul 6, 2007 1:53 PM

The Villages, FL(Zone 9a)

This is wonderful!!! Thanks so much!!!

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

Thank you Donna for taking the time to enter all this!

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

lol I just C,C,& pasted it from my Documents from when I did it for the presentation.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Fabulous, Donna. Thanks for posting the info.

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

Oh, well, it was still a nice gesture and very helpful, thanks.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

Medicago lupulina - Black Medick
Pueraria montana - Kudzu
Wisteria sinensis - Chinese Wisteria
Buddleja davidii - Butterfly Bush
Daucus carota - Queen Anne's Lace
Cinnamomum camphora

Are you suggesting that as a gardener, I plant these invasive plants? I did a quick read thru on the list, and these are the ones that jumped out at me. I have always read and been told that to bring in Native North American butterflies, one needs Native North American plants. That their host plants are going to be a native plant here, in the USA. They might get the nectar from other plants that are non native only because they don't have a readily available native plant to get it from. All the plants listed are from various other countries. The Audubon Society was cool with the listing of various invasive plants?

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

Butterfly Bush is invasive? Mine doesn't seem to be here, not even a seedling anywhere. I'm a strong advocate of native plants and use lots of them, including hard-to-find natives I really have go out and personally collect seed for...or even to do plant rescues. But I don't limit myself to just natives. I grow some native plants for Black Swallowtails, for instance, but they go dormant or die off fairly early in the year and I'd have nothing for them to use without parsley and fennel other times. But truly invasive plants that escape into the wild and cause harm to the few remaining "wild" areas...well, Kudzu shouldn't be planted or encouraged anywhere.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

In Donna's defense, she didn't suggest that we do anything. She simply compiled a list of "host" plants and "favorite" nectar plants "of the South". She lists what certain species use and whether it's invasive or not is a different topic. If it is invasive in a certain area then it wouldn't be wise to plant it. But the fact remains that certain plants are considered invasive but they are the host plants. It was just a presentation of informative facts.

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

Thank you Paige. That is exactly what I did. Yes Kudzu is highly invasive and the Sate of Mississippi works to try to control it. It has been found to be a host plant by those that study these things and write books. I have never had QAL or Buddleia to be invasive. Clover is invasive but many States plants medians with it anyway. It is also a host plant. Farmers and hunters plant if for deer, turkey etc as food plots. The list goes on.....

San Antonio, TX

Thank you for the list Donna. We have a lot of these plants here in San Antonio and have a great variety of butterflies.


Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

You are correct, this is a list.

From this site http://butterflygardeners.com/buddleia.htm

Buddleia can behave like an opportunistic rascal. Says Dalton Durio of Louisiana Nursery, "It
always seems to grow best in containers where other, more valuable plants are being grown. These volunteer seedlings come up fast and strong, and they usually succeed in killing the 'host' plant." Buddleia hybridizes easily; volunteer seedlings may not resemble your prized bush.

Politically Incorrect?

Buddleia is at home in disturbed areas, such as road cuts or new development sites. Its flowers
have softened wartime London's bombed lots and the slag heaps of Welsh mining towns. This tendency to be a weedy colonizer, along with its exotic (non-native) status in North America,
is now making Buddleia politically incorrect. It's included in the recently published Invasive Plants [Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Handbook #149, 1996, $7.95]. Buddleia davidii has spread from gardens along the Eastern seaboard and the West coast, to roadsides and riparian (streamside) zones. It's not yet considered a serious problem, but it's spreading rapidly.

I also found this:

NOTE: Although Butterfly Bush is an excellent hummingbird and butterfly plant, it can escape from cultivation and become invasive in some parts of the U.S. Please use it with caution.

So yes, in certain parts of the area, Butterfly bush is invasive. One I had in particular in TN died for no apparent reason. Next year I had 7 baby white Buddleia davidii coming up in various parts of my property. Mother plant wasn't white. East coast, West coast, down south......do a search using invasive buddleia davidii.

Let's back up to the list. Let's say I want to plant specifically for butterflies and hummingbirds and I did a search. Say I did the search and turned up this list. And say I'm not big on researching which plants I put in my garden, this list is saying that they're host and nectar plants and since I want host and nectar plants, why wouldn't I plant them? It is a butterfly list showing which plants bring in which butterfly. Native American butterflies prefer Native American plants, but if they cannot find them, they will use another plant. My grandmother had planted Lonicera japonica halliana (Hall's honeysuckle) many years ago. Does that make it right for me to plant it? No, it doesn't. States often times plant invasive species, ie Pueraria montana var. lobata, Rosa multiflora and Lonicera maackii, and then we the taxpayers have to pay a huge price for cleaning up their mistake. An invasive plant is not some pesky over aggressive plant in your yard. An invasive plant is one that displaces our native flora. It disperses seed and/or berries into others properties. Displacing our native flora displaces our native fauna. Education is and should be the key. This list is being used an educational tool, is it not? Donna says it's for a presentation for a Butterfly Presentation for the Audubon Society.

The Audubon Society's mission statement

Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.

To make out a list to present to the Audubon listing invasive species goes against their mission statement and that's where I'm having trouble understanding where this particular list comes into play.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Well, after reading all of this, I have a question.

Is Scarlet Milkweed a non-native, invasive milkweed?

I have tried unsuccessfully to grow native milkweed. For some reason it just doesn't survive in my yard. I am attempting to grow some native milkweed varieties from seed to see if I might have some success that way. I have to admit that I find the Scarlet Milkweed so easy to grow from seed and transplant into the ground or grow in pots in my garden. It's quite hardy, but I have not found it to be invasive at all in my yard or the vacant lots around me. I am pretty vigilant about collecting the seeds so they aren't spreading everywhere. Though I don't know if they would grow & spread even if the wind blew them everywhere.

Any comments about the Scarlet Milkweed?

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

Terry I am sorry you are offended by what I did. We all enjoyed the presentation being the first one in over a year when most of us, myself included lost everything we own to Hurricane Katrina. All wildlife was affected. We lost thousands of birds and other wildlife. I explained that some of what was on the list was invasive but listed them so they would know what to look for when out in the woods bird watching since many of them are into all kinds of wildlife. We spend hours in the woods and open fields, rivers, mudflats, along beachs etc....

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Whoa there terryr...I apologize up front because I'm going to be rude, but are you the butterfly police? I don't see any need to jump on this forum and start an argument. WE, meaning all of us who frequent this forum many times per day, were proud of Donna's presentation and appreciate her posting her list and all of her hard work.

It doesn't matter WHAT the Audubon's mission is because Donna is not responsible for what plants a butterfly uses as a host plant! She did not create them and decide what they should use. SHE POSTED A LIST OF HOST PLANTS. It's been done before and will be done again here and on many other garden forums.

I could almost guarantee and bet you money that not one person in this forum is going to pull up their buddleia's or never plant another one because some person who works in a nursery in Louisiana said that they were invasive. They're more likely to die suddenly, as you've seen, than spread.

I can understand your concerns but it's just overboard to attack her thru this post. If someone finds it via the internet and doesn't do their own research, it's THEIR problem NOT Donna's! SHE is not responsible for anyone else's actions.

I personally am very responsible in every aspect of my own life and I grow QAL AND Mexican milkweed. They both do reseed and probably do spread, but I'm not going to pull them out. I can not personally control nature and these plants exist here and spread with or without me. So Becky, who really cares? You'll probably just be lucky if you can get one to grow. Then if you don't want it to reseed, cut off the pods. Easy enough.

Hey Becky, Scarlet Milkweed (another common name for this plant is Bloodflower) is easier researched using its Latin name which is Asclepias curassavica. If you go to the USDA's site, you will find that it's origin is not native. We list it as an introduced species. The map indicates this plant has naturalized throughout Florida as well as throughout several other states and territories.

Given you live in Florida, Asclepias species you might find more environmentally friendly would be:
Asclepias michauxii
A. lanceolata
A. syriaca
A. feayi
A. rubra
A. humistrata
All of these are indigenous/native to Florida.

Here is a map listing some species of Asclepias. The map is rather confusing but please note that the states in which Asclepias curassavica has "naturalized" are gray as opposed to the listings for other plants in which they are green. On this particular page of their site, the non-native plants will show up grayed out. What's confusing is that when one clicks on the actual plant, the area where it has naturalized is now green and one can't easily determine nativity unless one looks for origin for this species which is listed as introduced in the slot adjacent to US Nativity. This plant is actually a native of Central America although the site is not denoting same.

In answer to your question, this plant is not formally listed as an invasive species... yet. It is not a good sign that it is currently documented as having naturalized in 6 States plus the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico given it is way out of its native range. That's a lot of escapees. It is my understanding that when more research is available that the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi may be added. Recent hurricane activity appears to have spread many introduced species all around and we are now beginning to learn the long term effects of this weather event.

Hey Donna, it is excellent that you explained that some of what was on your list was invasive. I do the same thing when providing lists when I speak. One thing I do is place three astericks in front of plants that are formally listed as an invasive species such as Buddleia davidii which is wreaking havoc in natural ecosystems in a fashion not so dissimilar to Pueraria montana. Next thing I do is indicate at the end of the list why some species have three astericks in front of them and I ask those who have these plants to please consider destroying them if they feel comfortable doing so.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

Donna, I'm not offended. Not in the least. I was only trying to make a point that when providing a list, IMHO, the list should not contain any invasive species.

Konkreteblonde, this thread was hyperlinked here from the Gardening to Wildlife forum. I have not attacked Donna. I merely offered my thoughts on the subject and on the list provided above. Donna was giving a presentation to the Audubon Society, so the Audubon's mission statement does play into the equation. I'm also sorry that not one person on this forum would destroy their Buddleia davidii if they live in an area where it's a known invasive. That is not doing one's research, as you so aptly stated above. To be personally responsible, one does not grow anything that will spread into wild areas or even that of their neighbors. You can control what you grow on your land which has a direct affect on nature. Look around. See all the invasive species out growing in the wild? Did they get there themselves? No, somebody planted them on their property and then the seed or the berries were dispersed. My philosophy is being responsible for my own backyard, not the whole wide world, but my own little slice of paradise I'm creating here. Here's a website for TX invasives http://www.texasinvasives.org/Invasives_Database/Results/CN_Results.asp
There's also an old thread here on DG at the TX forum
There really is no need to apologize. I think you should reread what I wrote though where you'll see I was not rude, I did not attack Donna. A really good read for you would be a book by the late Sara Stein 'Noah's Garden, Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards'. I think you'd be pleasantly surprised to see what you can do when you start in your own backyard. You can find it here under the Bookworm tab or http://davesgarden.com/gbw/c/1136/

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Hmmmm... Man introduces invasives into other regions! But, what shall we say about natural causes .... such as hurricanes and other weather conditions that may also spread seeds, creatures, etc. around to other regions outside of their native environment! I know all too well about those acts of nature. We could really get into a discussion about saving the ocean. Saving the atmosphere. Global warming. Saving the earth! What I see is that man is cutting down the forests, polluting the oceans, polluting the air .... all in the name of development and progress! What really rules here is the almighty dollar. Greed and power to be exact.

I appreciate what many of you are trying to do to restore and preserve our native environment. But in all honesty, I think it's too little, too late.

As a new gardener, I have been buying from local nurseries what they are selling. I've assumed for years that they were selling plants that were okay to plant in my yard. And those very plants I bought to attract butterflies, bees, and other creatures that I want to invite into my yard. And those plants HAVE done just that! I now have lots and lots of butterflies, lizards, bees, dragonflies, etc.

Probably quite a few of the plants in my yard would be considered "non-native, invasives". But guess what .... I obtained them at several different local nurseries. Why? Because the nurseries do not sell the native alternative plants. And I have to drive 35 miles to the nearest "native nursery". But guess what, they are selling plants that are non-native there, too! Sooo ........

In all honesty, I think it's a losing battle at this point. I look out in my backyard beyond my fence and see about 12 large Brazilian Pepper Trees growing in the vacant lots which are doing far more damage than any butterfly host/nectar plants that I have currently in my yard. These trees get huge and block the sunlight from all beneath it. What's going to grow there now? A select few shade plants? But that's okay. In the name of progress .... all the plants growing in those lots will be destroyed when the land is cleared to put concrete buildings in. And more roads. And more commercial buildings. And airports. And so on and so on.

The human population doesn't appear to be slowing down. Unless of course we have some kind of epidemic that wipes out half of the world.

In all honesty ...... I believe it is in the hands of a higher power. God's in control, folks.

So, I know I've done the unthinkable. Go ahead and slap me with a wet noodle. But I think I'll keep my scarlet milkweed, my butterfly bush, my trumpet creeper, my cypress vine, my plumbago, my passion vine, etc. I kind of like them better than the unsightly weeds that were inhabiting the ground before my gardens went in. And my neighbors are enjoying the view of my house much more with all the wildlife hanging around, all the beautiful and colorful flowers, and the smiling neighbor (me) who lives in that house who waves and invites them over to get a first hand look at it all! Much to my neighbors' disappointment .... none of my plants have found their way into their yards, yet. But I think they might be wishing they would, because they love to come over and visit my yard! :-)

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Exactly Becky! My yard is staying just the way it is, Bermuda grass and all!

Ummm, no thanks terryr. I'm sure you have good intentions, but I'd rather take advice from someone I've developed a relationship with on this forum. It might even be a topic that we butterfly gardeners even want to discuss, but not with others who don't do it, or at least discuss it here with us. I felt like Donna was being wrongly accused of something and I wanted to defend her. I did that, now I'm unwatching the thread and going back to other threads on our happy forum.

Thanks for the great list Donna! I'll be saving it.

Yes Konkreteblond, I believe terryr does have good intentions. I truly believe DonnaB has good intentions also. Seems as if that's a given to me based on their past posts in not only this thread but others.

OK Becky, twenty whips with a wet noodle for ya! Do you feel better now? I am just teasing with you. Overwhelming at times isn't it?

You think you have done the unthinkable but have you really? I don't think you've done anything other than voice what thousands of others feel. Is there anything so wrong with that? I remember when terryr started and felt a lot like you... I remember when I started and felt a lot like you.

Incidentally, I found my way over to this forum and to this thread because of the hyperlink posted over in the Gardening For Wildlife Forum.

As a new gardener, I too purchased from local nurseries. I did so enthusiastically. Now, I purchase almost exclusively by mail order so that I can purchase what I want not what someone wants me to sell me based on their inventory. With the cost of gas these days and the loss of time going to the nurseries, I think I'm coming out about "even steven".

Those Brazillian Pepper Trees- I can share with you how to nail those in the vacant lots if you'd like. It's amazing what one little person like you or me can do to make a difference. We think we are insignificant but we aren't.

For what it's worth, I have hundreds of plants in my yard... no thousands of plants in my yard that are exotics or rather introduced species. I do not have any that are invasive and I do not plant anything that is non native in the natural areas of my property. I've got a thing for Iris is about all I can say. Well, I've got a thing for quite a few other introduced/non native species too.

And, man introduced the species to this continent that are getting spread to natural areas at an unprecedented rate by natural events such as the weather systems you described.

I believe in God with all my heart too. Here's my philosophy which I always share when I speak to a group-
As Faith Thompson Campbell (1997) puts it, "We should be humble; we may never fully understand the invasion process, particularly for each of the hundreds of potentially invasive species in each of our many ecosystems. One truth is clear: as time passes, many species will spread to new areas or increase in density if controlling actions are delayed." Putting "out of place" plants on plant lists is, in most cases, the only way weed scientists have been able to create effective prevention programs because scientific proof is difficult to come by (Parker and Reichard 1998; see Results for the industry's desire for scientific proof)."

excerpt from here-


Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

konkreteblonde, you say you've unchecked this forum, however on the slight chance you come back, I do garden for wildlife. That includes butterflies, hummingbirds, birds, possums, whatever I can get to come onto my property. I'm going to work on a small pond next year so I can enjoy frogs and other creature a water feature might bring in. I'm sorry you've formed your own little clique here and you're not interested in what anyone who's name you don't readily know has to say. That's a shame. I come here to learn from anybody willing to teach.

Becky, I don't just drive 35 miles, I drive over 2 hours to get to one native place, 1 1/2 hours to get to the other around here (that is my choice). My local nurseries sell what people want to buy or what they want people to buy, unless it's illegal to sell in the state of IL. Our illegal list is awfully short, so there's many things that are for sale. I've always tried my darndest to look things up or to inquire outside of the garden center on particular plants. I'm not a newbie to gardening, I feel lucky that I've not planted any invasive exotic non native. Sure I used to plant exotic non natives, but nothing that was invasive. What I honestly believe is that if one understands that in their own backyard they can make a difference, that they have the control, it's a small step. Natural causes (hurricanes and other weather conditions that may also spread seeds, creatures, etc.) are out of our control, but things we plant in our own backyard are not. If you're at all interested, please check out the 'Noah's Garden' book I referenced above.

The Villages, FL(Zone 9a)

I don't think I have to worry about my buddlea, etc. etc. spreading cause my neighbors are very busy putting poisons down in their yards and cutting their lawns (no flowers) down to 1/2" tall (lol). Karen

Phoenix, AZ

I believe in God with all my heart too. Here's my philosophy which I always share when I speak to a group-
As Faith Thompson Campbell (1997) puts it, "We should be humble; we may never fully understand the invasion process, particularly for each of the hundreds of potentially invasive species in each of our many ecosystems. One truth is clear: as time passes, many species will spread to new areas or increase in density if controlling actions are delayed."

Please don't use God/faith to justify views on "invasive" species.

This message was edited Nov 24, 2006 3:53 PM

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

The list is meant for everyone, is it not? Butterfly bush isn't invasive here. I think if you take all the plants off the list that are invasive somewhere, it might be a very short list......what's invasive for me isn't necessarily invasive for you and visa versa.

Thanks for the list Donna!

Savannah, GA(Zone 8b)

Donna, thanks for the list. I find it very informative. I will print it and keep

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