NC’s State Butterfly Nectaring Exotic Plants; Photos Show!

North Carolina’s official state butterfly, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly has been photographed nectaring non-native plants (otherwise known as exotic-plants). It’s not clear if there will be an uprising to renege its status as NC’s state butterfly, replacing it with another species of butterfly which only visits native plants. Gardeners on the other hand can rest comfortably knowing that providing any plant that provides nectar and pollen is of great value. Food is food.

The plant in the incriminating photograph is Ligularia ‘Hey, Mr. Wilson’. It is possibly a Ligularia japonica hybrid, and as gardeners soon learn “japonica” indicates a plant is of Japanese origin, though many are from a much wider area. Ligularia japonica and this hybrid ‘Hey, Mr. Wilson’ thrive in our heat and humidity. It is especially happy in a wet site. It should be grown as much for its handsome deeply divided foliage as for its floral display.

4 thoughts on “NC’s State Butterfly Nectaring Exotic Plants; Photos Show!”

  1. Leo C Song Jr

    This is simple adaptation and evolution. They have learned that there are other options for nectar and utilizing them will give them a better chance to continue surviving.
    At my daughter’s house, the bird dropping caterpillar has appeared on Ruta graveolens , the European plant now widely cultivated here, belonging to the same family as Citrus of which she has several trees. Since that is also an exotic, it is not as common as before. Was a big industry here in SCal, here in Orange County.

    1. Leo C Song Jr

      So if Ruta is more widely planted than now, maybe we’ll get more. To be sure, lots of citrus around but few orchards.

  2. We have also seen Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies visiting various hybrid cone flower, lantana and butterfly bush in our garden near Raleigh. They must have missed the memo from well-meaning but misguided radicalized native plant extremists.

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