The butterfly garden, near the pond and adjacent to the Harrison Hall of Natural Science and Technology, is a joint project of the Roper Mountain Science Center, the roper Mountain Science Center Association, and the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners. It contains many varieties of plants that attract butterflies and bees, and is lovely during each season of the year.The Greater Greenville Master Gardeners maintain the butterfly garden at Roper Mountain Science Center. In 2002, it was certified a National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat. This certification means that wildlife is provided food, shelter, water and a place to raise the young on these grounds.
Visitors may stroll through the butterfly garden during daylight hours when the center’s main gate is open.
What is a Butterfly Garden?
A butterfly garden is simply a garden with plant material that attracts butterflies. The general needs of butterflies are host plants and nectar plants. Host plants are the plants eaten by the caterpillar or larva of the butterfly. Each species of butterfly has a specific plant that the adult butterfly lays her eggs on and which the caterpillar will eat. Nectar plants are the food of the adult butterfly. They use a proboscis to sip nectar from the flowers of the plant. A butterfly garden also needs protection from the wind. Many butterflies like a damp spot or mud hole for puddling. Finally, butterflies like sunny areas and some rocks to rest on and soak up the sun.
Nectar plants include these butterfly magnets:
- ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana
- Butterfly Bush or Buddleia davidii
- Verbena banariensis
- Purple Coneflower of Echinacea pupurea
- Butterfly weed or Asclepiastuberosa
Host plants are the most important plants in the garden. Below is a list of common butterflies in our area and their host plant.
Anaphalis, cudweed, Antennaria
Fennel, parsley, rue, dill, Queen Ann’s Lace
Snapdragon, plantain, Linaria, Verbena
Cabbage, Cleome, Nasturtium, mustard, Lunaria
Senna, Cassia, clover
|Eastern Tailed Blue||
legume family, clover, alfalfa
prickly ash, rue, citrus, hop trees
mallow, hollyhock, legumes
|Great spangled fritillary||
|Great purple hairstreak||
|Long tailed skipper||
legumes (pole bean, garden bean), wisteria
Asclepias species (milkweed)
willow, poplar, elm, nettle
Aristolochia (pipevine), wild Ginger
hops, hackberry, nettle, elm
willow, poplar, plum, apple, aspen, cherry
|Silver spotted skipper||
Cassia, senna, clover
Lindera benzoin (spicebush), sassafras
dogwood blossoms, Viburnum, blueberry
wild cherry, poplar, willow, birch
passion vine, violet
Asimina (paw paw)
Butterfly GardenTo see pictures and learn more about butterflies in our area, click on “Butterflies of North America” located at www.npwrc.usgs.gov. This site allows you to click on your state, and tells you what butterflies are there, and even narrows it down to the butterflies in your county.
We are very proud of our butterfly garden at Roper Mountain Science Center. Not only do we have beautiful flowers, but we have beautiful “flying flowers.”