Host Plants for Butterflies – Marin Independent Journal

Many of us are familiar with the unique relationship between monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and milkweed. Milkweed is the larval host plant of the caterpillar stage. Many Marin gardeners have planted Asclepias speciosa or Asclepias fascicularis to support monarch butterfly populations.

Another example of a host plant-butterfly relationship is between the California pipevine plant (Aristolochia californica) and the pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor hirsuta). California pipevine can be grown in Marin Gardens. Maybe you will see the beautiful black and blue butterfly.
A third example of a dedicated host plant-butterfly relationship is the silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons var. collinus) and the rare mission blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides missionensis). You can see lupine growing in the headlands of Marin.

All these plants are available in nurseries and can be grown in the gardens of Le Marin.

– Katie Martin, UC Marin Master Gardener