Larval Host Plants of Selected Lepidoptera (e.g. Butterflies, Moths, Skippers) in Virginia

placeholder imageBlack swallowtail caterpillar

This list of larval host plants for common Virginia butterfly species was compiled by Bob Glennon and David Bryan, NRCS Private Lands Biologists, and Celia Vuocolo, PEC’s Habitat and Stewardship Specialist. 

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Butterfly SpeciesLarval Host Plant Species
American LadyPussy toes, New York Ironweed, Burdock
American Snout Butterfly Hackberry
Baltimore CheckerspotTurtlehead, False Foxglove, Hairy Beardtongue, Wrinkle Leaf Goldenrod
Black SwallowtailDill, Parsley, Fennel, Carrot, Rattlesnake Master, Golden Alexander
Cabbage WhiteMany Plants in Mustard Family, Cabbage Family including Broccoli
Checkered SkipperMallow, Hollyhock, Velvetleaf
Checkered WhiteMany Plants in Mustard Family, Cabbage Family 
Clouded SulfurAlfalfa, White Clover, Peas, Baptisia
Cloudless SulfurOrnamental Cassia, Partridge Pea, Wild Senna
Common BuckeyePlantains, Gerardias, Toadflax, Snapdragons, False Loosestrifes, 
Beardtongue, Spiderwort, Blue Vervain, Wild Petunia 
Common HairstreakPeas, Mallow Family, Beans, Clovers, Cotton
Dogface Butterfly Peas, Alfalfa, Indigo, False Indigo, Prairie Clover
Eastern Pine Elfin Eastern Red Cedar, Shortleaf Pine
Eastern‐tailed BlueBaptisia, Roundhead Lespedeza, Ticktrefoils, Vetches, Clovers
Eastern Tiger SwallowtailAsh, Willow, Hickory, Serviceberry, Tulip Poplar, Birch, Cherry
Gorgone CheckerspotSunflowers 
Great Spangled FritillaryViolets
Hackberry  EmperorHackberry, Sugarberry
Henry’s ElfinAmerican Holly, Huckleberry, Highbush Blueberry, Eastern Redbud, 
Winterberry, Viburnum
Luna MothWhite Birch, Persimmon, Walnut, Hickory, Sumac, Sweetgum
Meadow FritillaryViolets
Mourning CloakWillow, Aspen, Cottonwood, Elm, Birch, Hackberry
Orange SulfurAlfalfa, Vetch, Peas, Clover, Wild Senna, Partridge Pea, Baptisia
Painted Lady Thistle, Hollyhock, Sunflower, Joe‐Pye Weed, Rose Mallow, Ironweed
Pearl CrescentAsters
Question MarkNettle, Elm, Hackberry, Hops, False Nettle
Red AdmiralNettle, False Nettle, Pellitory 
Red Spotted Purple Wild Cherry, Aspen, Poplar, Cottonwood, Oaks, Hawthorn, Birch, Willows 
Silver-spotted Skipper False Indigo, Wild Licorice, Locust, Bluestem Grasses, American Wisteria, 
Panicum spp, Ticktrefoils
Silvery CheckerspotWingstem, Sunflower, Aster, Purple Coneflower, Black‐eyed Susan
Spicebush SwallowtailSpicebush, Sassafras 
Spring AzureColumbine, New Jersey Tea, Dogwood, Witchhazel, Black Cherry, Vibernum, 
Black Cohosh, Sumac, Meadow Sweet
Variegated Fritillary May Apple, Violets, Passionflower 
Viceroy ButterflyWillow, Poplar, Cottonwood, Black cherry, Chokecherry
Virginia Creeper Sphinx MothVirginia Creeper, Vibernum, Wild Grape
Wood NymphPurpletop, Bluestem Grasses 
Zebra Swallowtail Pawpaw