Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Trees & Shrubs

In addition to flowers, trees and shrubs can also serve as both hosts and nectar sources for a variety of butterfly species. While trees and shrubs are not necessary for your butterfly garden, if you have any of the species listed below in your yard it can be very beneficial for certain butterflies.  

Click here for additional information on Iowa's woodlands as vital habitat for native pollinators.

This list is tailored for the Upper Midwest, click here to find out about how to participate in other parts of the county

Host Trees

American Elm (Ulmus Americana)
Host to Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Eastern Comma, Red-spotted Purple

American Plum (Prunus americana)
Host to Striped Hairstreak, Coral Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple, Viceroy

Aspen Tree (Populus tremuloides)
Host to Mourning Cloak, Red- spotted Purple, Viceroy, Dreamy Duskywing, Striped Hairstreak, Compton’s Tortoiseshell, Question Mark

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Host to Red-spotted Purple, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Striped Hairstreak

Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Host to Red-spotted Purple, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Striped Hairstreak

Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Host to American Snout, Mourning Cloak, Hackberry Emperor, Tawny Emperor, Question Mark, Eastern Comma

Hickory (Carya spp.)
Host to Hickory Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak, Edward’s Hairstreak, Striped Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Oak Tree - White, Swamp White, Chinkapin, Bur, Black, Pin, Red  (Querqus spp.)
Host to Hickory Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak, Striped Hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple, White Hairstreak, Edward’s Hairstreak, Viceroy, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Sleepy Duskywing 

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Host to Henry’s Elfin, Spicebush Swallowtail

Willow (Salix spp.)
Host to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Acadian Hairstreak, Striped Hairstreak, Viceroy, Mourning Cloak, Horace’s Duskywing, Juvenal’s Duskywing, Dreamy Duskywing, Persius Duskywing, Compton’s Tortoiseshell

Nectar Trees

Basswood (Tilia americana) “Bee Tree”
Sugar & Silver Maple (Acer spp.)
Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
American Linden (Tillia Americana)

Host Shrubs

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Host to Spicebush Swallowtail

New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Host to Spring Azure, Summer Azure, Mottled Duskywing

Nectar Shrubs

American Elder (Sambucus canadensis)
Arrowood, Nannyberry, Highbush Cranberry Viburnums (Virburnum spp.)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
False Indigo, Fragrant False Indigo, Lead Plant (Amorpha spp.)
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
American Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Serviceberry- Amelanchier arborea
Silky, Gray, Redosier Dogwoods (Cornus spp.)
Wild Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina)

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Photos courtesy of Nathan Brockman

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