What Types of Flowers Do Butterflies Eat?

Written by eileen rivera
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What Types of Flowers Do Butterflies Eat?
Butterfly resting on a leaf. ("Morpho peleides wings closed (blue morpho butterfly)" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Armando Maynez (Armando Maynez) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

When you see a butterfly on a flower, it is likely getting its daily nutrients. While butterflies don't actually eat flowers, they do drink the nectar from the flowers.

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What Types of Flowers Do Butterflies Eat?
Butterfly resting on a leaf. ("Morpho peleides wings closed (blue morpho butterfly)" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Armando Maynez (Armando Maynez) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Facts

Butterflies drink their nutrients through a proboscis, which is a long, narrow tube in their mouth.

Nutrition

Butterflies will eat anything that can dissolve in water. This mostly takes the form of nectar from flowers, but butterflies have been known to eat other things, including tree sap, dung, pollen or rotting fruit. They are also attracted to sodium and will look for liquids supplying it, such as diluted salt and sweat.

What Types of Flowers Do Butterflies Eat?
A butterfly drinking nectar. ("A butterfly on a cosmos 2" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: tanakawho under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Butterfly Garden

To attract butterflies to your home, grow plants that butterflies like. Butterflies will seek out nectar flowers and are attracted to plants such as lilacs, butterfly bush, purple coneflowers, sage, beauty bush, sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars, the offspring of butterflies, will eat the leaves of plants. The caterpillars will eat leaves from specific plants according to the species.

What Types of Flowers Do Butterflies Eat?
Caterpillar on a leaf. ("Say hello to my little friend" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: *Micky (Photos by Micky) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Harvester Butterflies

Harvester butterflies and their caterpillars are an exception in that they will only feed on aphids. Harvester butterflies have a proboscis that allows them to pierce the body of woolly aphids and drink their fluids. The caterpillar will also feed solely on aphids.

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