Flutter Color

Welcome Your Fluttering Visitors

Welcome these visitors to your new garden. Here are some of the most common butterflies in the United States. Click on the list below and the butterfly species information will appear on the right.

  • Black Swallowtail

    Papilio polyxenes

  • Cabbage White

    Pieris rapae

  • Clouded Sulphur

    Colias philodice

  • Gray Hairstreak

    Strymon melinus

  • Monarch

    Danaus plexippus

  • Painted Lady

    Vanessa cardui

  • Pearl Crescent

    Phyciodes tharos

  • Silver-Spotted Skipper

    Epargyreus clarus

  • Spring Azure

    Celastrina ladon

  • Tiger Swallowtail

    Papilio glaucus

  • Butterflies belong to a classification known as Lepidoptera. “Lepidos” is Greek for scales and “ptera” is Greek for wing. The unique scaled wings of a butterfly are different from any other insect. Second only to beetles, there are more types of butterflies and moths than there are of any other type of insects. Roughly 28,000 different species of butterflies have been estimated worldwide. We hope you attract a few of these flying beauties to your yard!

Butterfly Species Information

Black Swallowtail

Papilio polyxenes

2.5 to 3.5 inches

Upper surface of the wings is mostly black. On the inner edge of hindwing is a black spot centered in larger orange spot. Males have a yellow band near edge of wings; females have a row of yellow spots and a hindwing with an iridescent blue band.

Umbelliferous plants like parsley, carrot, dill and celery.

Butterfly weed, phlox, thistle and clover

• The state butterfly of Oklahoma.
• Also called Eastern Swallowtail, American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail.

Butterfly Species Information

Cabbage White

Pieris rapae

1.25 to 1.75 inches.

Upper side is creamy white with black tips to the forewings. Females also have two black spots in the center of the forewings.

Crucifers like cabbage, mustard and cress.

Crucifers, nasturtiums, lantana, impatiens.

• Also called the Small White, Small Cabbage White or White Butterfly.
• Sometimes mistaken for a moth due to its plain-looking appearance.

Butterfly Species Information

Clouded Sulphur

Colias philodice

1.5 to 2 inches.

Upper side of the male's wings is yellow with black borders; the female shows either yellow or greenish-white with yellow- or white-spotted black borders. The underside of the male's wings is yellow; the female's is yellow or greenish-white. Both have a double hind wing spot trimmed in brownish-red.


Goldenrod, tickseed, clover, phlox and butterfly weed.

• Swarms of Clouded Sulphurs love to congregate at mud puddles.
• Caterpillars are green with a white stripe running along each side.

Butterfly Species Information

Gray Hairstreak

Strymon melinus

1 to 1.25 inches.

Upper side is gray to gray-brown with a distinctive orange patch. Underside is pale gray-green with irregular white-edged bands across the wings. Outer angle of underside also displays distinctive orange patches.

A wide range of plants including oaks, legumes and mints.

Many species including goldenrod, butterfly weed, clover and winter cress.

• One of North America’s most widespread butterfly species.
• Also called the Common Hairstreak.

Butterfly Species Information


Danaus plexippus

3.5 to 4 inches.

Distinctively orange with black veins and borders. Males have a small black patch on each hind wing.

Butterfly weed.

Butterfly weed, lantana, lilac, cosmos, goldenrod and zinnias.

• Overwintering monarchs often cover entire branches of trees.
• The only true migratory butterfly.

Butterfly Species Information

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui

2 to 2.5 inches.

Mostly orange upper sides, with black and white wing tips and black spots on the hind wings. Underside displays a row of small eyespots on the hind wings.

Thistle, mallow and hollyhocks.

Aster, cosmos, thistle and buttonbrush.

• Also called the Cosmopolitan.
• Lives in a wide range of habitats, including gardens, parks, meadows, deserts and even vacant lots.

Butterfly Species Information

Pearl Crescent

Phyciodes tharos

1 to 1.25 inches.

Mostly orange upper sides with black patches and black margins. Underside is mostly a lighter orange.


Asters, gloriosa daisy and thistle.

• Can be seen almost year-round in areas of the Deep South.
• A low-flier that takes to shorter plants in the garden.

Butterfly Species Information

Silver-Spotted Skipper

Epargyreus clarus

1.75 to 2.5 inches.

Mostly brown, with a distinctive silver patch on the hind wing.

Locust tree, legumes.

Butterfly weed, zinnia and honeysuckle.

• Its caterpillar builds a tent of small leaves.
• One of North America’s most widespread species.

Butterfly Species Information

Spring Azure

Celastrina ladon

0.75 to 1.25 inches.

A brilliant metallic blue above and gray below. Later in the season broods are much more pale than those in early spring.

Various shrubs and trees including dogwoods and blueberries.

Buckeye, rockcress, violet and winter cress.

• A harbinger of spring, the first broods emerge in March.
• Long lifespan has this butterfly on the wing from early spring to fall, and even longer in the Deep South.

Butterfly Species Information

Tiger Swallowtail

Papilio glaucus

3 to 6.5 inches.

Mostly yellow, with black “tiger stripe” bands and margins. Blue patched and orange spots along the hind wings.

A variety of flowering trees like wild cherry, cottonwood, poplar, willow and tulip tree.

Butterfly bush, butterfly weed, lilac and honeysuckle.

• A cousin, the Spicebush Swallowtail, is a striking black with metallic-blue patches.
• A high-flying species that will flock to the taller plants in the back of your butterfly garden.


When a caterpillar reaches maturity, it enters the pupal or chrysalis stage. The caterpillar attaches itself to a plant by using its silk glands. The pupal skin begins to form underneath the caterpillar skin. Once formed, the old skin splits open and the pupa emerges. Chrysalis color can range from greens to browns.

While In the cocoon, the caterpillar will undergo a dramatic change into a butterfly. The chrysalis stage varies species to species and often depends on temperature, normally taking two weeks. Once the metamorphoses is complete, the skin of the pupa splits and a beautiful butterfly emerges.