Butterfly Garden See below for a listing
of butterfly larval plants
Common Name Latin Name T HxW Ornamental Value
Acton Encelia Encelia actoni S 3' x 3' Yellow flowers in spring and summer, fragrant foliage
Angelita Daisy Hymenoxys acaulis, prev. Tetraneuris acaulis P 1' x 1' 1 foot long blooming yellow flower February to November
Apache Plume Falugia paradoxa P 4' X 4' White rose-like flowers, pink plumed fruits
Arizona Rosewood Vauquelinia californica T 25' x 5' In place of oleander, shrub, hedge, or tree, may be pruned, blooms May through July
Autumn Sage Salvia greggi S 3' x 3' Red flowers, aromatic mid-summer to mid-fall
Baby Sage Salvia microphylla S 3' x 3' Red flowers, mid-summer to mid-fall
Baccharifolius Beardtongue Penstemon baccharifolius P 2' x 2' Red trumpet shaped flowers June through September
Bamboo Muhly Muhlenbergia dumosa G 1.5' x 3' Delicate flowers after rains
Bastard Sage Eriogonum wrightii P 2' x 2' Lacy flowers in spring, deciduous
Big Berry Manzanita Arctostaphylos glauca S 10' x 6' White to pink flowers
Birchleaf Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus montanus T 12' x 4' White to pink fragrant flowers, attractive leaves
Bisbee Peak Rushrose Helianthemum scoparium P 1' x 2' Yellow flowers March through July
Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum P 6" X 1' White one inch daisies
Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum P 6" x 1' White one inch daisies
Blue Eldberberrry Sambucus nigra T 12' x 12' Small, berrylike drupe, purple-black, and very juicy
Blue Oak Quercus douglasii T 30' x 30' Evergreen medium sized oak
Bovardia Bouvardia ternifolia S 4' x 3' Showy red trumpet shaped flowers May through November
Brittle Bush Encelia farinosa S 3' x 3' Yellow flowers blooming all spring, fragrant
Brewer's Salt Bush Atriplex lentiformis S 7' x 7' Yellow flowers July to October, evergreen grey leaves
Buck Brush Ceanothus cuneatus S 8' x 10' White to light blue flowers in late winter to mid-spring
Bush Beardtongue Keckiella breviflora P 5' x 5' White flowers line with purple, pink, or red streaks in spring and fall, fragrant
Butterfly Milkweed Asclepias tuberosa P 2' Bright red or orange flower in mid-summer followed by attractive pods in fall
California Black Oak Quercus kelloggii T 25' x 25' Dapple shade, deciduous, leaves red in fall
California Buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum P 18" to 3' Lacy flowers in spring
California False Indigo Amphora californica S 6' x 6' Small purple flowers on 3 inch spike, frangrance of guava, pineapple, lavender
California Fuchsia Zauschneria californica P 3' x 5' Red flowers from mid-spring to early winter
California Goosefoot Chenopodium californicum P 1' x 3' Showy leaves, flowers insignificant
California Milkweed Asclepias californica S 3' x 3' Attractive deep purple flowers, grey/white fuzzy leaves
California Prickly Phlox Leptodactylon californicum S 3' x 3' Pink/violet/lavender flowers late winter to mid-spring
Canyon Live Oak Quercus chrysolepis T 30' x 25' Shade, evergreen, large acorns
Cascalote Tree Caesalpinia cacalaco T 12' x 12' Light yellow flowers most of winter, attractive copper pods
Catclaw Acacia Acacia greggii T 15' x 20' Yellow flowers in spring, grey deciduous foliage, fragrant
Chamise Adenostoma fasciculatum S 6' x 6' Tiny tubular white flowers in spring until July
Chia Salvia columbariae S 2' Light blue flowers March through June
Chuparosa Justicia californica S 4' x 8' Long tubular red flowers from May through fall, deciduous
Claret Cup Cactus Echinocereus triglochidiatus S 1' x 4' Showy scarlet to wine flowers in spring or early summer
Cleveland Sage Salvia clevelandii S 4' x 4' Purple trumpet shaped flowers spring to summer, evergreen, fragrant
Cliff Fendlerbush Fendlera rupicola S 1' x 6' Purple flowers in spring to fall, fragrant, silver foliage
Cliff Goldenbush Ericameria cuneata P 1' x 6" Showy yellow flowers late summer and fall
Coast Live Oak Quercus agrifolia T 20' x 40' Deep shade, evergreen
Coral Bean Erythrina flabelliformis T 10' x 8' Long bright red flowers in racemes near end of branches in June followed by foot long gold and brown pods
Coyote Gourd Cucurbita palmata V 6" x 30' Large 3" wide yellow, unisexual, bell shaped, opens in morning, closes by mid-day, Apr through Sept
Deerweed Lotus scoparius P 3' x 3' Blooms all year, yellow flowers turn red once pollinated
Desert Alyssum Lepidium fremontii P 2' x 2.5' Fragrant white flowers March to May
Desert Bitterbrush Purshia glandulosa S 5' x 6' 1" yellow rose-like flowers in spring
Desert False Indigo Amphora fruticosa S 10' x 10' Small purple flowers on 3 inch spike, fragrance of guava, pineapple, lavender
Desert Honeysuckle Anisacanthus thurberi S 4' x 6' Lovely orange to red flowers superficially resemble those of honeysuckles
Desert Lavender Hyptis emoryi S 8' x 8' Lavender flowers, minty fragrance in spring, grey to white foliage
Desert Marigold Baileya multiradiata P 1' x 1' Yellow daisies almost all year
Desert Milkweed Asclepias erosa S 2' x 2' White flowers May to July
Desert Penstemon, Desert Beardtongue Penstemon pseudospectabilis P 2' x 2' Showy magenta (pink-purple) flowers in mid-summer
Desert Rosemallow Hibiscus coulteri P 4' x 2' Showy cream, tan, or yellow flowers March through November
Desert Sage Salvia dorrii S 2' x 2' Blue flowers bloom late in spring, leaves fragrant
Desert Willow Chilopsis linearis T 12' x 15' Trumpet shaped flowers 2 to 3 inches long in white to rose to purple, often two toned, April through September
Dwarf Coyote Brush Baccharis pilularis Var. pilularis S 1' x 12' Evergreen groundcover, white flowers summer to fall
Dwarf White Zinnia, Desert Zinnia Zinnia acerosa P 3" x 1' White flowers after rains
Eaton's Penstemon, Scarlet Bugler Penstemon eatoni P 3' x 2' Showy red flowers in spring
Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus Echinocereus engelmannii C 2' x 2' Showy magenta to fuschia flowers in spring or early summer
Fairy Duster Calliandra eriophylla S 4' x 4' Silver-green leaves, fragrant, pink to red duster blooms most of year, showy April through July
Foothill Penstemon, Purdy's Penstemon Penstemon heterophyllus P 2' x 1' Showy violet flowers in spring
Fragrant Evening Primrose Neriserenia camporum P 8" x 1' White to pale pink flowers in spring
Fragrant Pitcher Plant Lepechinia fragrans S 6' x 6' Aromatic white to purple flowers blooming April to June
Gambel Oak Quercus gambelii T 30' x 30' Deciduous high altitude medium oak
Gilia Beardtongue Penstemon ambiguus P 2' x 2' Uniquely showy light-pink flowered species for its extravagant late spring display
Globe Mallow, Desert Mallow Sphaeralcea ambigua P 2' x 3' Orange, pink, white, or lavender leaves mostly in spring
Golden Currant Ribes aureum V 10' x 10' Yellow, tubular showy flowers, borne in spring, hanging clusters several inches long, clove-like fragrance
Golden Stars Bloomeria crocea P 2' Bright yellow flowers in spring, goes dormant in summer
Golden Yarrow Eriophyllum confertiflorum P 2' Mat of bright yellow flowers
Grape Soda Lupine Lupinus excubitus S 4' x 4' Showy purple blooms May and June with fragrance of grape soda
Gregg Dalea Dalea greggii S 1' x 6' Purple flowers in spring to fall, fragrant
Grinnell's Penstemon Penstemon grinnellii P 2' x 2' Showy pink flowers in spring
Grizzly Bear Pricklypear Opuntia erinacea CS 1' x 3' Pink, red, or yellow flowers in May and June
Hairy Goldenaster Heterotheca villosa P 1' x 1' Yellow to gold flowers June through October
Hairy-leaf Ceanothus Ceanothus oliganthus oliganthus S 6' x 6' Whitish to blue to purple flowers in spring
Hairyseed Bahia Bahia absinthifolia P 1' x 1' Yellow blooms spring through fall
Hairy Yerba Santa Eriodictyon trichocalyx S 6' x 6' White to purple flowers in spring
Howard McMinn Manzanita Arctostaphylos densiflora S 8 ' x 12' Small, white to pinkish white flowers, appearing from late winter to spring
Huajillo Havardia pallens T 20' x 15' Fragrant, white, ball shaped flowers May through August
Indian Milkweed Asclepias eriocarpa P 3' x 1' Yellow flowers and red fruits, butterfly magnet
Indigo Bush Amorpha californica P 6' x 6' Violet flowers in spring, fragrant, attracts butterflies
Interior Live Oak Quercus wislizenii T 10' x 20' Deep shade, evergreen
Joshua Tree Yucca brevifolia Y 15' x 8' White to cream colored flowers in March followed by attractive fruits
Lewis Flax Linum lewisii P 3' x 3' Lavender flowers spring until summer
Little Leaf Cordia Cordia parvifolia S 8' x 10' White clusters of blooms March through November
Littleleaf Sumac Rhus microphylla S 8' x 6' White flowers in spring, orange fruits in early summer
Matilija Poppy Romneya coulteri P 3' x 2' Huge white flowers, yellow centers, May to July, fragrant
Mescal Bean Sophora secundiflora  T 20' x 15' Distinctive, showy; pendulous raceme of purple flowers late winter to early spring, fragrant
Mexican Tree Ocotillo Fouquieria macdougalii T 15' x 10' Red  flowers mid-spring
Mojave Aster Xylorhiza tortifolia P 1' x 2' Light purple flowers March through May and again in September-October
Mojave Beardtongue Penstemon incertus P 3' x 3' Showy pink and blue flowers in spring to summer
Mojave Verbena Verbena gooddingii P 1' x 1' Pale lavender-blue flowers from February to November, fragrant
Mountain Desert Sage Salvia pachyphylla S 2' x 2' Two-tone red and purple large flowers July through September, evergreen grey-green leaves
Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus belutoides T 12' x 4' White to pink fragrant flowers, attractive leaves, inverse conical shape, gains personality with age
Narrowleaf Milkweed Asclepias fascicularis P 3'x 1' White to off-white flowers July to October, butterfly magnet
Narrowleaf Yerba Santa Eriodictyon angustifolium S 3' x 3' White flowers in spring and summer
Netleaf Hackberry Celtis reticulata T 15' x 20' Attracts songbirds in fall and winter, good shade tree, small green flowers in spring
Ocotillo Fouquiera splendens S 12' x 8' Green leaves for short time after rains, red-orange flowers on fall, stem evergreen
Orange Bush Monkeyflower Diplacus aurantiacus S 3' x 3' One inch yellow to orange to scarlet flowers in spring, dormant in summer in desert
Palmer's Penstemon, Balloon Flower Penstemon palmeri P 2' x 1' Showy pink flowers in spring, aromatic
Paper Flower Psilostrophe cooperi P 1' x 2' Yellow flowers bloom early in spring and last for a long time eventually turning into dry and paper-like
Parry's Penstemon Penstemon parryi P 3' x 2' Rose-pink flowers in spring
Pineleaf Penstemon, Pineneedle Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius P 1' x 1' Showy red flowers in late spring, summer
Red Barberry Berberis haematocarpa S 6' x 8' Fragrant yellow flowers, red berries, purple fall color
Redberry Rhamnus crocea T 12' x 9' White flowers in March and April, followed by showy red berries, tree looks like scrub oak
Red Thistle Cirsium proteanum or occidentale P 6' x 1' Red flowers in spring, dies after it produces
Royal Penstemon, Showy Penstemon Penstemon spectabilis P 3' x 2' Purple-blue flowers in spring
Rubber Rabbitbrush Chrysothamnus nauseosus S 5' x 6' Small yellow flowers in summer, cotton tufts in fall, grey leaves and limbs
Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea CS to 50' Attractive, borne on the branch tips in rings, white with a yellow center, 2 inches across, blooming at night during May and June
Sand Penstemon, Gilia Beardtongue Penstemon ambiguus P 1' x 1' Green leaves, white flowers in spring
Scarlet Bugler Penstemon centranthifolius P 1' x 2' Showy red flowers in spring
Scarlet Keckiella Keckiella ternata P 3' x 3' Red flowers spring to summer
Screwbean Mesquite Prosopis pubescens T 15' x 15' Yellow flowers in late spring, fragrant, interesting seedpods
Scrub Live Oak Quercus turbinella S 6' x 6' Remains small, evergreen
Silver Lupine Lupinus albifrons P 5' x 5' Light blue to purple flowers in summer
Skeletonleaf Goldeneye Viguiera stenoloba P 2' x 3' Golden flowers after rains
Snapdragon Penstemon Keckiella breviflora P 6' x 3' Wonderfully fragrant, bright yellow flowers and elegant foliage
Snowflake Sage Salvia chionophylla P 1' x 6'/yr Blue flowers spring and fall, evergreen gray-white ground cover
Southern California Grape Vitis girdiana P 9' x 30' White flowers in spring, blue fruit in summer, ground cover
Southern Honeysuckle Lonicera subspicata denudata S 8' spread White to yellow flowers spring to summer, climbing
Spinystar Cactus Coryphantha (Escobaria) vivipara C 1' x 1' Showy pink to purple flowers in spring or early summer
Standing Cypress Ipomopsis rubra P 6' x 2' Red, orange, or yellow trumpet shaped flowers May through July (biennial)
Starleaf Mexican Orange Choisya dumosa S 18" x 3' White fragrant flowers mid-spring to early winter, fancy leaves
Sticky Monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus P 3' x 3' White to orange to red flowers mid-spring to early summer
Sugarbush Rhus ovata S 12' x 15' Cream flowers in spring, red fruits in early summer
Sulfur Flower Eriogonum umbellatum S 3" x 3' Yellow flowers in spring, good ground cover
Texas Persimmon Diospyros texana T 20' x 12' Green to white-green urn shaped flowers, edible black fruit on female  trees, dioecious, madrone-like peeling bark
Texas Plume Bauhinia lunarioides T 12' x 10' Fragrant pale pink orchid-like flowers in spring, butterfly shaped flowers
Texas Ranger Leucophyllum frutescens S 6' x 6' Purple trumpet shaped flowers, evergreen silver leaves
Torry Mesquite Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana T 10' x 25' Yellow flowers in late spring, fragrant, seedpods are sometime scarlet
Tree Poppy Dendromecon rigida S 8' x 6' Profuse bright yellow poppy flowers spring through fall
Turpentinebush Ericameria laricifolia S 6' x 8' Fragrant yellow flowers mid-fall, red berries, purple fall color
Upright Prairie Coneflower Ratibida columnifera P 3' x 2' Showy brown, yellow, orange flowers May through October
Utah Service Berry Amelanchier utahensis S 15' x 15' White flowers in spring, fruit in early summer, white bark
Violet Silverleaf Leucophyllum candidum P 5' x 5' Violet flowers February to May, silver-white leaves
Waterjacket Lycium andersonii S 3' x 18" Light purple to nearly white flowers in early spring, red berries in fall
Western Hackberry Celtis occidentalis T 45' x 50' Attracts songbirds in fall and winter, good shade tree, small green flowers in spring
Western Redbud Cercis occidentalis T 10' x 20' Showy pink, purple, or white flowers in April, rosy seed pods in May
Western Soapberry Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii T 40' x 20' Large showy flowers in May and June, deciduous
Whitebark Raspberry Rubus leucodermis P 3' x 3' Vine with small white flowers in spring and red fruit in fall
Whitebrush Aloysia gratissima S 6' x 6' White flowers March to November
White Gaura, Whirling Butterflies Gaura lindheimeri P 18" x 2' Flowers used by butterflies and bees
White Sage Salvia apiana S 3' x 3' White flowers in spring, grey leaves, aromatic
Whitethorn Acacia Acacia constricta T 15' x 10' Yellow puffballs in spring, fragrant, attractive brown pods in fall
Woodland Strawberry Frageria vesca ssp. californica P 6" x 9" White flowers in spring, red fruit in summer, ground cover
Wooly Bluecurls Trichostema lanatum S 4' x 4' Blue-pink flowers in spring and fall, fragrant
Wooly Milkweeed Asclepias eriocarpa S 3' x 3' Profuse large clusters of pink-white flowers
Woolly Paper Flower Psilostrophe tagetina P 1' x 1' Yellow flowers bloom early in spring and last for a long time eventually turning into dry and paper-like, fragrant
Yarrow Achillea millefolium californica P 3' x 3' White to near white, sometimes pink, flat topped cluster of small flowers from mid-spring to early winter, fragrant
Yellow Bush Snapdragon Keckiella antirrhinoides P 6' x 3' Wonderfully fragrant, bright yellow flowers spring and summer and elegant foliage


Butterfly Larval Plants The following is a list of butterfly larval plants which are water-wise and will grow well in the high desert.  The butterfly larvae will often severely damage many these plants, so you may want to plant them in less featured spots in your garden.  Nonetheless, these plants presence in your garden may result in a successful resident population of your selected species of butterflies in your garden.
Common Name Genus/Species Image (Flights)
Larval Host
Common Name
Larval Host
Scientific Name
Adult Food
Common Nme
Adult Food
Scientific Name
Acmon Blue Plebejus acmon JPG -- species photo Several
Eriogonum ssp.
Lupinus ssp.
Flower nectar  
Becker's White Pontia beckerii  Becker's White - Pontia beckerii Several
Bladder Pod Isomeris arborea Flower nectar  
Behr's Hairstreak Satyrium behrii Behr's Hairstreak - Satyrium behrii (1)
Mountain Mahogany
Purshia ssp.
Cercocarpus ssp.
Flower nectar  
Bernardino Blue, Western Square-Dotted Blue Philotes battoides (1)
California Buckwheat
Sulfer Flower
Eriogonum fasciculatum
Eriogonum umbellatum
Wild Buckwheats Eriogonum ssp.
Boisduval's Hairstreak, Golden Hairstreak Habrodais grunus (1)
Canyon Live Oak Quercus chrysolepsis Seek only moisture and aphid honeydew  
California Dogface Zerene eurydice (2)
California False Indigo Amphora californica Flower nectar  
California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica (1)
California Lilac Ceanothus ssp. Flower nectar  
Chalcedon Checkerspot Euphydryas chalcedona JPG -- species photo (1)
Indian Paintbrushes
Penstemon ssp.
Castilleja ssp.
Flower nectar  
Gentry's Giant Skipper Agathymus gentryi (1)
Desert Agave Agave deserti Males sip moisture from mud.  Females never feed  
Gorgon Copper Lycaena gorgon May-Jul California Buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum Flower nectar  
Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus
California Buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum 
Milkweed Asclepias ssp.
Juniper Hairstreak Callophrys gryneus JPG -- species photo Feb-Sep California Juniper Juniperus californica Milkweed Asclepias ssp.
Mojave Sootywing hesperopsis libya Hesperopsis libya libya - Mojave Sootywing Several
California Goosefoot Chenopodium californicum Flower nectar  
Mormon Metalmark Apodemia mormo
California Buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum  Flower nectar  
Mournful Duskywing Erynnis trystis
Coast Live Oak
Blue Oak
Quercus agrifolia
Quercus douglasii
Flower nectar  
Northern White-Skipper Heliopetes ericitorum Several
Globe Mallow Sphaeralcea ambigua Flower nectar  
Pacific Dotted Blue Euphilotes enoptes (1)
Buckwheat Eriogonum ssp. Buckwheat Eriogonum ssp.
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui JPG -- species photo (1-3)
Red Thistle

Globe mallow
Cirsium proteanum or occidentale
Sphaeralcea ambigua
Flower nectar  
Pale Swallowtail Papilio plilenor Several
Hollyleaf Cherry
Ceanothus ssp.
Rhamnus californica
Prunus ilicifolia
Rhamnus crocea
Flower nectar
Yerba Santa
Rhamnus californica
Eriodictyon ssp.
Saltbush Sootywing Hesperopsis alpheus Saltbush Sootywing (2)
California Goosefoot Chenopodium californicum Flower nectar  
Small Checkered-Skipper Pyrgus scriptura  Several
Globe Mallow Sphaeralcea ambigua Flower nectar  
Western Pygmy Blue Brephidium exilis Jul-Sep
Flower nectar  
Yucca Giant-Skipper Megathymus yuccae Yucca Giant-skipper - Megathymus yuccae - male (1)
Soaptree Yucca Yucca elata Males sip moisture from mud.  Females never feed.