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Cavano’s HABITAT Program

The HABITAT Program was created based on the research of Dr. Doug Tallamy. Each of the plants in this program provide food for caterpillars (larvae) of butterflies/moths of the Eastern United States.

An example is the caterpillar pictured to the right. This is the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, a common and photogenic creature. The Monarch caterpillar only feeds on milkweed plants, such as Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed), A. syriaca (Common Milkweed), A. tuberosa (Butterfly Weed), and A. verticillata (Whorled Milkweed). Without milkweed the Monarch butterfly will not lay eggs and reproduce.

If milkweed isn’t your plant of choice, how about hibiscus? Hibiscus is a the host plant for the Spiny Oak-Slug Moth and the Delightful Bird-Dropping Moth (you know you want to see that one).

The HABITAT Program consists of the following plants:

  • Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting)
  • Antennaria neglecta (Field Pussytoes)
  • Antennaria plantaginifolia (Pussytoes)
  • Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
  • Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed)
  • Aster azureus (Sky Blue Aster)
  • Aster novi-belgii (New York Aster)
  • Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell)
  • Carex albicans (White Tinged Sedge)
  • Carex amphibola (Creek Sedge)
  • Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee Sedge)
  • Carex crinita (Fringed Sedge)
  • Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge)
  • Carex stricta (Tussock Sedge)
  • Carex vulpinoidea (Fox Sedge)
  • Chelone glabra (White Turtlehead)
  • Chrysopsis mariana (Maryland Golden Aster)
  • Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
  • Elymus hystrix (Bottlebrush Grass)
  • Fragaria virginiana (Virginia Strawberry)
  • Helenium flexuosum (Purple-headed Sneezeweed)
  • Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
  • Helianthus divaricatus (Woodland Sunflower)
  • Helianthus salicifolius (Willowleaf Sunflower)
  • Hibiscus moscheutos (Swamp Mallow)
  • Juncus effusus (Common Rush)
  • Panicum virgatum (Switch Grass)
  • Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox)
  • Phlox pilosa (Downy Phlox)
  • Phlox stolonifera (Creeping Phlox)
  • Polemonium reptans (Jacob’s Ladder)
  • Pycnanthemum flexuosum (Appalachian Mountainmint)
  • Pycnanthemum incanum (Hoary Mountainmint)
  • Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (Narrowleaf Mountainmint)
  • Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia Mountainmint)
  • Rudbeckia laciniata (Cutleaf Coneflower)
  • Rudbeckia triloba (Brown Eyed Susan)
  • Scizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)
  • Solidago bicolor (White Goldenrod)
  • Solidago caesia (Bluestem Goldenrod)
  • Solidago graminifolia (Grass-leaved Goldenrod)
  • Solidago odora (Anise Scented Goldenrod)
  • Solidago rugosa (Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod)
  • Solidago  speciosa (Showy Goldenrod)
  • Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed)
  • Verbesina alternifolia (Wingstem)
  • Viola labradorica (Labrador Violet)
  • Zizia aurea (Golden Alexander)

You can learn more about larval host plants and the butterflies/moths that are common in your area here https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/