Butterfly host plants, ranked by performance


Larval host plants are very important. Oaks, for example, rank number one because they are host to 346 different species of butterflies and moths.

This list applies to Jefferson County, Kentucky.

  1. Oaks, 346
  2. Plum & cherry, 290
  3. Willow, 239
  4. Birch, 223
  5. Maple & box elder, 205
  6. Hickory, pecan, pignut, bitternut 196
  7. Aspen, cottonwood, poplar 193
  8. Apple, crabapple, 185
  9. Cranberry & blueberry, 172
  10. Pine, 150
  11. Elm, 148
  12. Alder, 129
  13. Basswood, linden 119
  14. Walnut, butternut 115
  15. Ash, 113
  16. Blackberry, dewberry, himilaya 105
  17. Beech, 104
  18. Hawthorn, 101
  19. Chestnut, 87
  20. Viburnum, arrowwood 81
  21. Filbert, hazel, Hazelnut, 80
  22. Dogwood, bunchberry 77
  23. Rose, sweetbriar, 74
  24. Ironwood, tupelo 71
  25. Spruce, 69
  26. Grape, 58
  27. American hornbeam, 55
  28. Witchhazel, 55
  29. Locust, black locust, rose acacea 53
  30. Persimmon, 47
  31. Goldenrod 55
  32. Strawberry 49
  33. Sunflower 47
  34. Meadowsweet, Spirea 46
  35. Hackberry, sugarberry 43
  36. Honeylocust, gleditsia 41
  37. Sumac 39
  38. Sycamore 36
  39. Holly, inkberry 34
  40. Blackgum 33
  41. Sweetgum 31
  42. Bluegrass 30
  43. Joe Pye Weed 30
  44. New Jersey Tea 29
  45. Elderberry 28
  46. Ninebark 27
  47. Violet 27
  48. Virginia Creeper 26
  49. Horsechestnut, buckeye 26
  50. Honeysuckle 24
  51. Hibiscus 23
  52. Juniper, red cedar 22
  53. Buttonbush 21
  54. Bulb panic grass 20
  55. Geranium 20
  56. False indigo, indigobush 19
  57. Flax 19
  58. Redbud, judastree 18
  59. Tulip poplar 17
  60. Purslane, hogweed 16
  61. Greenbriar 15
  62. Snowberry, buckbush 15
  63. Wisteria 15
  64. Crownbeard, wingstem 14
  65. False goldenaster 14
  66. Indigo, wild indigo 14
  67. Ironweed 14
  68. Magnolia, sweetbay 14
  69. Bluestem, broomsedge bluestem 13
  70. Willowherb 13
  71. Peppervine, amelops 12
  72. Fleabane 12
  73. Meadowrue 12
  74. Browneyed susan, blackeyed susan 11
  75. Dogbane 11
  76. Milkvetch 11
  77. Milkweed, butterfly weed 11
  78. St. John’s wort 11
  79. Pawpaw 11
  80. Sourwood 11
  81. Wahoo, burningbush, euonymous 11
  82. Cordgrass 10
  83. Vetch 10
  84. Mulberry 10
  85. Yarrow, sneezeweed 10
  86. Butterweed ragwort 9
  87. Cattail 9
  88. Columbine 9
  89. Buckthorn 9
  90. Catalpa 9
  91. Hydrangea 9
  92. Spicebush 9
  93. Coral bristlegrass 9
  94. Firebush, croton, prairie tea 9
  95. Groundcherry 9
  96. Iris 9
  97. Switchcane 9
  98. Thorn-apple, jimson weed, prick 9
  99. Beebalm, wild bergamot 8
  100. Brackenfern, bracken 8

For more info go to NWF.org/NativePlantFinder.