Butterflies, Flowers, and Bees… Oh My!

Seen here sipping nectar from wild bergamot, the great spangled fritillary butterfly is a welcome visitor to our gardens. Great spangled fritillary caterpillars hatch in the fall and immediately go dormant without eating. When they awaken hungry in the spring, these offspring search for violets to eat. Without violets, the great spangled fritillary caterpillar will not survive. Some consider violets a “lawn weed,” but they are actually an important larval food source for many fritillary butterfly species, as well as a great early season nectar plant for bees and other pollinators. Be sure to check out the next edition of The Butterfly Effect to learn how to turn your yard into a butterfly haven.

Great spangled fritillary on wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). Photo credit: Dave Crawford


A bumble bee on Canadian white violet (Viola canadensis), a host plant for the great spangled fritillary. Photo credit: Vicki Bonk