According to an American Indian Legend – If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.
Most People just like butterflies, whats not to like, they are graceful, beautiful, colorful creations. I don’t think any other insect has been the inspiration for so many, artists, writers as well as naturalists.
However butterfly populations all over the world are being threatened by loss of habitat. Butterfly gardening, is a great way to provide additional habitat for butterfly species in your area. The species of butterfly vary by region, but by doing a little investigating and planting both nectar plants to attract the adult butterflies and also planting larvae foodplants for the caterpillars, you can increase the local population of butterflies in your area. Not to mention increase your gardens beauty with these colorful winged flowers. Throughout the country, the general requirements for butterfly gardening are the same: full sun, nectar source plants, larval host plants, a pesticide-free environment, and knowledge of the local butterflies. Many butterfly-attracting plants are natives and require little attention, as they are naturally adapted to the region in which they live. Butterfly gardens are best planted in the spring with younger plants or in the fall with mature plants that will become dormant quickly and re-emerge in the spring.
Butterfly Attracting Plants
Egyptian Star Flower
New England Aster
|Scientific NameRhododendron spp.
Host Plants and the Butterflies they Attract
|Host PlantWillow (Salix spp.)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Hop Tree (Ptelea trifoliata)
Senna (Cassia spp.)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)
|ButterflyRed Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)
Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Look for an opportunity in your area to participate in a butterfly release. This is one of the most phenomenal events you will ever attend. We attended one this weekend at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. It was their first annual “Come to the Tropics Butterfly Release”. We had a great time. While the outside temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit; we were browsing the booths, listening to tropical music, then releasing a butterfly and observing many other butterflies, all in the warm and humid Tropical butterfly house. I released a very large Paper Kite, or Rice-paper Butterfly, which is white with black lines, it had about a 3-4 inch wing span. Carter released a Zebra Longwings butterfly, which is the mascot butterfly of the Butterfly House. We really had a great time, taking pictures and watching the people and butterflies. I now have lots of photos for new flower and butterfly art!
Check out the following sites for more info on butterflies: