Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies: A Field Guide (Myrna and David K. Langford Books on Working Lands) (Paperback)
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While many growers focus on attracting adult butterflies to their gardens, fewer know about the plants that caterpillars need to survive. Native host plants—wildflowers, trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and sedges—not only provide a site for the butterfly to lay its eggs, they also provide a ready food source for the emerging caterpillar. Think of these plants as the nurseries of the garden. This user-friendly, heavily illustrated field guide describes 101 native larval host plants in Texas. Each species account includes descriptive information on each plant, a distribution map, and photos of both the caterpillars and adult butterflies who frequent those plants.
An adult butterfly may nectar on a wide variety of flowers, but caterpillars are much more restricted in their food sources. Some feed on only a limited number of plant species, so female butterflies seek out these specific plants to lay their eggs. For example, the host plants for Monarch caterpillars are various species of milkweed. Often, these plants are not the same as the ones the adult butterfly will later use for nectar.
Learning more about the plants caterpillars need is crucial for butterfly conservation. Butterflies’ dependency on specific caterpillar host plants is one of the key factors restricting their range and distribution. Armed with this knowledge, readers can also hone their ability to find specific species of breeding butterflies in nature. This is a handy guide whether you are in the field searching for butterflies or on the hunt for butterfly-friendly options at your local plant sale.
About the Author
JIM WEBER and LYNNE WEBER are retired from the tech industry in Austin, where Lynne was a senior manager and Jim was a senior engineer. Both are certified Texas Master Naturalists and are the coauthors of Nature Watch Austin and Nature Watch Big Bend. They live in Austin. ROLAND “RO” WAUER is a naturalist whose career included thirty-two years with the National Park Service. He is the author and coauthor of numerous books, including Heralds of Spring in Texas and Naturalist’s Big Bend. He resides in Bryan, Texas.
“A beautiful, inspiring tool for those wishing to understand the relationships between native plants and butterflies.” —Jim Brock, author of Butterflies of North America and A Field Guide to Caterpillars
— Jim Brock
“Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies is extraordinary both as a rich educational resource and as a beautifully designed book.” —Texas Gardener’s Seeds
— Texas Gardener's Seeds
"... this book deserves to be in everyone's library. Jim Weber, Lynne Weber and Roland H. Wauer have a masterpiece on their hands. I cannot recommend this book enough and I am truly hoping that other authors will take notice of this book and its format and follow suit, covering more areas of the United States."—Dave the Bug Guy
— David Albaugh