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  • W. H. Perron

The 12 most useful butterflies in our gardens

Butterflies are fragile insects whose populations are declining ... However, they play a crucial role in pollinating many flowering plants. Make your garden a haven for lepidoptera! It is possible to favour the presence of butterflies in the garden thanks to certain facilities. Indeed, butterflies need shelter to spend the bad season.


White admiral or red-spotted purple

Photos by Falcoperegrinus (Matthieu Gauvain)

Two generations of this butterfly succeed each other during the summer. The first knows the flowering of the vinegar, which she appreciates the flowers. The second turns instead to eupatories and apocyns. The caterpillar feeds mainly on willow, birch and poplar leaves.


Atlantis fritillary

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson

This very active insect forages thistle flowers and milkweed. His caterpillar prefers purplish ones (thought, violet, etc.). But it is quite discreet and usually feeds at night.


Spring azure

Photo of D. Gordon E. Robertson

He emerges from his cocoon in early spring to fly to the edge of the woods, looking for shrubs in bloom. Its caterpillar is fond of cherry, early-flowering viburnum and even blueberry, including fruit!


Painted Lady

Photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Present in many corners of the planet, it feeds on any source of nectar, depending on the region and the time of the season. His caterpillar is fond of a wide variety of plants (centauries, burdocks, helianthus and sagebrush, for example), but his favourite is the thistle.


Clouded Sulphur

Photo by Meganmccarty

This butterfly is very common, even in town. Its name betrays its nectar preferences in the case of the adult and the host plant in that of its caterpillar. The latter also consumes other fabaceae (legumes), including alfalfa.



Photo by Derek Ramsey

The adult drinks the nectar of flowers of several plants: milkweed, buddleia, phlox, monard, goldenrod and aster, among others. His caterpillar? She eats exclusively milkweed leaves. The sap of this plant provides cardenolides. These will make sick the predators of the butterfly, which will no longer put the monarch on their menu.


Black Swallowtail

Photo (c) 2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man)

Even when he's foraging, he flaps his wings, always ready to fly! Its caterpillar loves to nibble the umbellifer leaves of our vegetable gardens (carrot, celery, parsley, dill, parsnip, fennel). In adults, nectar plants in general do the trick.


Milbert's Tortoiseshell

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson

If we saw it early in the spring when there was still snow, we did not have the berlue! When there are no flowers, it sucks the sap that flows from maples or wounded willows. Later, the nectar of various plants will take over. The small little girl likes to laze in the sun, the wings spread out. His caterpillar loves nettle.

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