SDNHM Monarca: Butterfly Beyond Boundaries

Butterflies and Host Plants
Coastal San Diego Area

Host plants provide food for butterflies in their larval stage. Adults lay their eggs on these plants. Caterpillars hatch from the eggs and feed on the leaves. (See Life Cycle.) Some butterflies are specific to a particular host plant species, others utilize any available plant within a particular genus, and others will use any plant (native or not) within a particular family or group of families.

Swallowtails (Papilionidae)


Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

Fennel, Parsley, Carrot

Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

Sycamore, Willows, Alders, Ceanothus, Coffeeberry

Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon)


Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)



Milkweed Butterflies (Danaidae)


Monarch (Danaus plexippus)


Queen (Danaus gilippus)

Climbing Milkweed (Sarcostemma spp.)

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae incarnata)

Passion Flower (Passiflora spp.)


Whites and Sulfurs (Pieridae)


Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Mustard, Radish, nasturtiums, and other members of Cabbage family)

Common White (Pieris protodice)


Cloudless Sulfur (Phoebis sennae)

introduced and native Cassia spp.

Nicippe Yellow (Eurema nicippe)


Sara Orange-tip (Anthocharis sara)

Rock Cress, Mustard

Dwarf Yellow (Nathalis iole)

Beggar-tick (Bidens ), Marigold

California Dogface (Colias eurydice)

False Indigo (Amorpha spp.)


Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)


Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

Willow, Chinese Elm

Lorquin's Admiral (Limentitis lorquini)

Willow, Cottonwood

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Thistle, Mallow, Hollyhock

West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)

Mallow, Nettle

Virginia Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Pearly Everlasting

Red Admiral (Vanessa atlanta)

Nettle, Babytears

Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Plantain, Snapdragon


Blues, Hairstreaks and Metalmarks (Lycaenidae)


Pigmy Blue (Brephidium exile)

Salt Brush, Pickleweed

Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)

Deerweed, Wisteria

Melissa Blue ( Lycaeides melissa)

> Loco Weed, Lupines

Bernardino Blue (Philotes battoides)


Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon)

Buckwheat and Pea families

Southern Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)

Lupine and other members of Pea family

Common Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Alfalfa, Sweet Clover, Malva, Coffeeberry, Clovers

Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo)

Buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.)


Skippers (Hesperidae)


Umber Skipper (Paratrytone melane)

Various grasses

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phylesus)

Bermuda Grass, Bluegrass

Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus albescens)

Alkali Mallow, Cheeseweed, and other mallows

Funeral Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)


Christian Manion and others

Monarca | Exhibits