Host plants such as Curry plant and Patharchatta offer food and shelter to butterflies. Plants that welcome butterflies homeCurry plant, whose leaves are a common ingredient in Indian kitchens, is an important host plant to the caterpillars of Common Mormon butterfly, from the swallotail family.Patharchatta is a common house plant with thick and fleshy leaves often reddish in colour, and is known to have Ayurvedic properties. It acts as a host for Red Pierrot butterflies, which have three striking coloursMadar, also known as crown flower plant, is an evergreen shrub with fleshy leaves. It oozes latex if scratched or broken, which attracts Plain Tigers, a species of butterflies. Madar blooms grow in auxiliary clusters, each with five petals and a small crown rising from the centre. Plants that welcome butterflies home Several plants are favoured by butterflies, and growing those in your garden can also invite butterflies to your home.
Spring brings with it flowers blooming in full glory and a kaleidoscope of butterflies fluttering around them. But spring isn’t the only season and reason for spotting these winged beauties. Several plants are favoured by butterflies, and growing those in your garden can also invite butterflies to your home.
Photographer Syed Mohammad Qasim loves to visit Sanjay Van and Sunder Nursery to spot butterflies in their natural habitat. But he enjoys watching them at home too, as he tells us, “I have flowering plants like cosmos and kamini, and a curry plant, too, on which I often see butterflies.” And Rajesh Choudhary, an associate professor and a butterfly lover, adds, “I have a few host plants on my terrace, like peas, lemon and baleria, where butterflies make a regular appearance.”
Like these Delhiites, many often wish to attract butterflies to their gardens. Besides being a vibrant sight, they also help in pollinating flowers. “Curry plant and patharchatta are some plants that are host for butterflies like Common Mormon and Red Pierrot,” says Sohail Madan, an ecologist with Bombay Natural History Society.
Vajradanti is another plant to consider adding to your garden to invite butterflies. A perennial plant, it acts as a larval host for Yellow Pansies.
Explaining the attraction of butterflies to certain plants, Madan says, “Reproduction and food are important for this insect for survival. So, finding native host plants, which provide food and shelter to the insects and their offspring, is crucial. The females lay eggs on host plants. Once hatched, caterpillars feed on the leaves. These pollinators and plants have co-evolved and depend on each other for survival.”