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Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

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Native Gardening, Pollinator & Butterfly Information

Host Plants for Butterflies

Nectar Plants for Butterflies/Hummingbirds/Bees

Native Plant Information

Sources for Native Plants

Monarch Butterflies

Butterfly Gardening

Butterflies Your Are Most Likely To See In Your Backyard

Butterfly & Moth Species By County

Native Gardening, Pollinator & Butterfly Books

Local Butterfly Information & Links

Oklahoma Butterfly Watching Locations

Click here for additional native plant resources from National Audubon.

Host Plants for Butterflies

  • Tropical Milkweed (which is Orange) - Monarch Butterflies
        Non-native for OK, but okay to use, an annual

  • Swamp Milkweed - Monarch Butterflies, Good for Wet Areas

  • Butterfly Weed - Monarch Butterflies,  Blooms in May good for Spring Migration

  • Showy Milkweed - Monarch Butterflies

  • Green Antelope Horn Milkweed - Monarch Butterflies, Blooms in April good for Spring Migration

  • Common Milkweed - Monarch Butterflies, Can be very invasive

  • Spicebush - Spicebush Swallowtail

  • Pipevine - Pipevine Swallowtail

  • Passionflower Vine - Gulf Fritillary and Variegated Fritillary

  • Parsley - Black Swallowtail

  • Fennel - Black Swallowtail

  • Bronze Fennel - Black Swallowtail

  • Rue - Black Swallowtail

  • Dill - Black Swallowtail

  • False Nettle - Red Admirals and Question Marks

  • Wooly Croton - Goatweed Leafwings

  • Snapdragons - Common Buckeye

  • Frogfruit - Common Buckeye

  • Hackberry Tree - Hackberry Emperor and American Snout

  • Elm Tree - Question Mark and Mourning Cloak

  • Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) - Gorgone Checkerspot

 Nectar Plants for Butterflies/Hummingbirds/Bees

  • Pentas especially the red color

  • Mexican Zinnia: Profusion Orange and Profusion White

  • Pincushion Flower

  • Purple Coneflower

  • Pale Purple Coneflower

  • Lantana

  • Mexican Sunflower

  • Butterfly Weed

  • Verbena bonariensis

  • Garden Phlox

  • Blue Aster Blooms in fall

  • Red Salvia

  • Purple Salvia

  • Bee Balm

  • Black-eyed Susan(all Rudbeckia are great plants for nectar)

  • Buttonbush

  • Golden Crownbeard Blooms in fall

  • Native Honeysuckle

  • Turk's Cap

  • Garlic Chives

Native Plant Information

Click here for Doug Tallamy's list of native plants for the Midwest and Eastern Great Plains (PDF format)


Click here for Doug Tallamy's master lists of all plant species and the number of insect species each hosts, showing the stark difference between native and alien species (in Excel spreadsheet format).


Oklahoma Vascular Plants Database
The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture offers lots of great information on plants for pollinators. Click here for their Pollinator Library, with dozens of free publications on this subject. Click here for how they created a pollinator friendly landscape at the Kerr Center.
One of the many great Kerr Center resources, Native Plants for Native Pollinators in Oklahoma is a beautiful full color guidebook to native plants for pollinators in Oklahoma!

Information on 38 native plants and the pollinators that visit them, how to use in the landscape, where to find them and tips for growing.

The Monarch Joint Venture has a library of free downloadable handouts on monarchs, milkweed, establishing habitat, and monarch conservation topics.

Local Sources for Native Plants

Tulsa Audubon's annual Wildlife Habitat Garden Tour and Plant Sale features local gardens and yards that have been turned into animal-friendly spaces, along with a plant sale from companies featuring native and wildlife friendly plants. Many of the plant vendors listed above are featured on this tour each year.

Groggs' Green Barn
10105 E 61st St Tulsa, OK 74133
Karla Grogg

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery
9814 Pleasant Hill Road, Jefferson City, MO 65109

Wild Things Nursery
 Seminole, OK
Marilyn Stewart

Pine Ridge Gardens
PO Box 200, London, AR 72847
Mary Ann King
Utopia Gardens
10995 S. 433rd W. Ave., Drumright, OK 74030
Jalene Riley

Duck Creek Farm
    PO Box 303, Mounds, OK 74047
Gary Schaum

Prairie Wind Nursery
929 Goodman Lane, Norman, OK 73026
Bustani Plant Farm
1313 East 44th Ave., Stillwater, OK 74074
Steve Busanti
Cherry Street
15th and Peoria, Tulsa, OK
Every Saturday Apr. 1-Oct. 21 7-11am

Whole Foods Parking Lot
41st and Peoria, Tulsa, OK
Every Wed., Apr. 12-Oct. 11 7:30-11am
Winter Market: Mar. 11 & Mar. 25 8:30-11am

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration.
Oklahoma Friends of Monarchs is a Facebook group promoting Monarchs in the state of Oklahoma, supportive to those who are interested in providing habitat, or in bringing in Monarchs to raise. We are a network of resources for seeds, plants, and sharing eggs/caterpillars within the group.
Since Monarch conservation is a responsibility of Mexico, Canada and the United States, the Monarch Joint Venture works throughout the U.S. to conserve and protect monarch populations and their migratory phenomena by implementing science-based habitat conservation and restoration measures in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. They have a library of free downloadable handouts on monarchs, milkweed, establishing habitat, and monarch conservation topics.
Monarchs on the Mountain is an annual celebration of the vital role eastern Oklahoma play sin the amazing migration of Monarch Butterflies. Held at Tulsa's Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness area.

Butterfly Gardening

When you create a garden, you usually grow plants
When you create a butterfly garden, you strive to grow butterflies


  • Plant your garden in sun as butterflies need sun (they are solar powered) and plants produce more nectar in the sun.

  • In the hot Oklahoma days of July and August it helps to have some of your garden in partial shade during the afternoon as it can get too hot for butterflies in full sun.

  • Shelter from the wind in all or part of the garden is beneficial.

Plants: Types and Distribution

  • There are two categories of plants for butterflies. Nectar plants for adults and food plants for the caterpillars.

  • Choose mainly nectar plants to get started. A variety of butterflies will come to the same nectar plant, but food plants for caterpillars usually are specific for only one or a very small range of butterfly species. Native plants are best as they provide for both.

Nectar Plants

  • Choose plants that will do well in the local environment. Not all flowering plants are a nectar source for butterflies. Find out which ones work from local resources.

  • Plant your nectar plants in masses. It is better to have a large number of a few varieties rather than a few plants of a number of varieties.

  • Choose plants so that your garden will give continuous bloom once the butterflies find your space. Each variety does not need to be always blooming, but part of your garden needs to be blooming all the time.

Food Plants

  • To select the proper food plants you need to know what butterflies are present in your local area. Butterflies are selective on which plants they lay their eggs. So you need to know the butterfly species to know which plant to use.

  • An easy group to start with is providing parsley or bronze fennel for the Black Swallowtail. Then you can learn about the specific needs of other butterflies.

  • Except for rare instances, caterpillars use only native plants for food plants.

Miscellaneous Butterfly Attractors

  • Damp area in soil, rocks or mulch

  • Areas for basking in early morning sun.

  • Over ripe fruit or tree sap.

Don’t Use Chemical Pesticides

  • Pesticides kill insects and butterflies are insects.

  • Don’t worry about destructive bugs and in time the beneficial ones will establish a healthy balance in your yard.


  • Enjoy the show that results from the stage you have set.

Butterflies Your Are Most Likely To See In Your Tulsa Backyard

  Common Name Scientific Name  
  Pipevine Swallowtails Battus philenor  
  Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxencs  
  Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes  
  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus  
  Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus  
  Checkered White Pontia protodice  
  Cabbage White Pieris rapae  
  Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice  
  Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme  
  Southern Dogface Colias cesonia  
  Cloudless Sulphur Phoebis sennae  
  Little Yellow Eurema lisa  
  Sleepy Orange Eurema nicipp  
  Dainty Sulphur Nathalis iole  
  Great Purple Hairstreak Atlides halesus  
  Juniper Hairstreak Callophxys gryneus  
  Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus  
  Red-banded Hairstreak Calycopis cecrops  
  Reakirt’s Blue Hemiargus isola  
  Eastern Tailed-Blue Everes comyntas  
  Spring/Summer Azure Celastrina ladon/neglecta  
  American Snout Libytheana carinenta  
  Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae  
  Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta Claudia  
  Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis  
  Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos  
  Question Mark Polygonia interrogatiuonis  
  American Lady Vanessa virginiensis  
  Painted Lady Vanessa cardui  
  Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta  
  Common Buckeye Junonia coenia  
  Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis  
  Viceroy Limenitis archippus  
  Hackberry Emperor Asterocampa celtis  
  Monarch Danaus plexippus  
  Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus  
  Southern Cloudywing Thorybes bathyllus  
  Horace’s Duskywing Erymns horatius  
  Funereal Duskywing Erynnis funerali  
  Common Checkered-Skipper Pyrgus communis  
  Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus  
  Sachem Atalopedes campestris  

Butterfly & Moth Species By County

Oklahoma Butterfly Species By County

Oklahoma Moth Species By County

Oklahoma Moth Checklist

In 1979 Dr. John Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Biology at ORU, published A Preliminary Checklist of the Skippers and Butterflies of Oklahoma in the Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. In that initial list he listed 149 species. Since then, the Oklahoma state list has grown to 200 documented butterfly species.


Dr. Nelson has retired and John Fisher now maintains the butterfly and moth lists for the state. The Oklahoma Butterfly Species by County list is updated as new records are reported and the Oklahoma Moth Species by County list is updated at least annually. In December, he sends lists of new county records to the Lepidopterists Society for inclusion in their Season Summary data base and report of butterfly & moth records in the US & Canada.


Since many species only fly for a few weeks each year, a species may not be listed in a particular county simply because no one was at the right place & time to see it. For example, the Olive Juniper Hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus gryneus, was first documented in Osage County in June, 2002 and Tulsa, Pawnee, Creek, & Washington Counties in April, 2004. Does that mean the Olive Juniper Hairstreak was a new immigrant into these counties? Probably not, it does mean no one had seen, documented, and reported the Olive Juniper Hairstreak from these Counties before.


If you find a new county record, please report your find with a photo or specimen and the usual who, what, when, & where information to John Fisher at or John Fisher, 8009 W Parkway Blvd Apt 302, Tulsa OK 74127


Native Gardening, Pollinator & Butterfly Books

Here are some books suggested by Jim Thayer on getting started in studying butterflies. Many of these books are available for purchase at Tulsa Audubon events, Oxley Nature Center, WIld Bird Unlimioted, or through By using the Amazon links provided below Oxley Nature Center & Tulsa Audubon receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

Bringing Nature Home
by Doug Tallamy

Doug Tallamy is an entomology Professor at the Univ. of Delaware. His research goal is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. We have brought Dr. Tallamy to Tulsa several times in recent years, and his books are a favorite of native plant gardeners. We highly recommend this book!!

The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden

by Rick Darke & Doug Tallamy

Attracting Native Pollinators

by The Xerces Society

Pollinators of Native Plant: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Benefical Insects with Native Plants

by Heather Holm

Butterfly Gardening For The South

By Geyata Ajilvsgi

How To Spot Butterflies

by Pat and Clay Sutton

The Butterflies of Oklahoma, Kansas, & North Texas

by John Dole, Walter Gerard, & John Nelson

Butterflies of North America

By Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman

Butterflies Through Binoculars, The East

By Jeffrey Glassberg

A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America

By Jeffrey Glassberg


A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies of the Kansas City Region

By Betsy Betros


Caterpillars In The Field And Garden: A Field Guide To The Butterfly Caterpillars of North America

by Thomas Allen, Jim P. Brock and Jeffrey Glassberg


Butterflies and Moths of Missouri

By J. Richard and Joan E. Heitzman



Local Plant & Butterfly Information & Links

National Information

  • Butterflies and Moths of North America is an outstanding resource site now hosted by Montana State University's Big Sky Institute. Formerly hosted by the USGS's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, the contents include photos, species descriptions, habitat, larval food plants, range maps, and conservation status.

  • Butterflies of America
    a comprehensive online resource that will include information on taxonomy and identification, distribution and habitat, life history and bibliography for all butterfly taxa in America, including species, subspecies and undescribed geographic variants.

  • Butterflies and Moths of North America
    Butterflies and Moths of North America is an ambitious effort to collect, store, and share species information and occurrence data.

  • North American Butterfly Association (NABA)
    The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) formed in 1992 is, by far, the largest group of people in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico) interested in butterflies. We are a membership-based not-for-profit organization working to increase public enjoyment and conservation of butterflies.


  • Tulsa's Wild Bird Unlimited
    Located at 61st & Yale, they offer a nice selection of books, binoculars and other optics.

  • Eagle Optics
    An excellent online source for binoculars, and optical equipment.


Oklahoma Butterfly Watching Locations


Listed species are included because they are either abundant at a given location
or are uncommon/rare or hard to find elsewhere.


Tulsa Audubon's Flycatcher Trail Outdoor Classroom & Demonstration Garden
 at Jenks High School
404 E. F. St., Jenks OK (north of stadium) The garden is open to the public


Oxley Nature Center/Mohawk Park

Swallowtails, Dion Skipper, Bell’s Roadside-Skipper, Falcate Orangetip


Red Bud Valley Nature Center



Gilcrease Museum Gardens


Keystone Dam Area

South bank below dam – Large Western Soapberry tree next to ORV area entrance

Soapberry Hairstreak

North bank below dam – Thistle patches along road ˝ mi. east of Corps office

Gulf Fritillary, Monarch, Queen


Osage RR Trail - wetlands ˝ mi. north of 86th St North

Bronze Copper, Broad-winged Skipper


The Nature Conservancy Pontotoc Ridge Preserve

Arogos Skipper


The Nature Conservancy Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Regal Fritillary, Arogos Skipper, Grey Copper


The Nature Conservancy J.T. Nickel Family Wildlife & Nature Preserve

Great Spangled Fritillary, Diana Fritillary


Salt Creek North Recreation Area, Keystone Lake

‘Olive’ Juniper Hairstreak, Olympia Marble


Feyodi Creek Park

Phaon Crescent, Viceroy


Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge


Lake Eufaula State Park

Butterfly garden near park office – Byssus Skipper


Red Rock Canyon State Park

East side of canyon along rim trail – Giant Yucca Skipper


Lake Murray State Park

Gardens near Tucker Tower – Great Purple Hairstreak


Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

Soapberry Hairstreak


ODWC Wildlife Management Areas



Please remember that collecting is not allowed on Nature Conservancy Preserves, City of Tulsa Parks, Tulsa County Parks, Oklahoma State Parks, or National Wildlife Refuges.





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Copyright © 2013 Tulsa Audubon Society
Last modified: October 10, 2017




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