Activities & Experiments

Butterfly Garden Host Plant TourNew England aster & Pearl Crescent

Holden Arboretum

Adult - Beginner, Adult - Intermediate

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a large, summer-blooming perennial.

It’s characteristic aster flowerheads sport vibrant purple petals, with bright yellow flower centers. You’ll often see bees and butterflies of all shapes and sizes bumbling around these flowers.

All true asters are host plants for the Pearl Crescent butterfly’s eggs and caterpillars. New England aster is the showiest of Ohio’s asters with more petals than other asters, and they can grow in just about any setting.

Where else can you see this plant growing at the Arboretum?

 Look for New England aster in the Wildflower Garden and in the meadows nearby Corning Lake.

About the Butterfly Garden Host Plant Tour Series

Butterflies and plants coevolved to support each other’s life cycles. Plants employ the help of butterflies to transfer pollen to other plants of the same species resulting in reproduction and fertilization of a seed. Butterflies use plants for food and protection, and many have special relationships with host plants, plants that they lay their eggs on and serve as food for the hatched caterpillars.

A strong butterfly population requires a diverse, native plant community, which contributes to a healthy ecosystem for all living things to thrive on.

Explore the special relationships between native host plants and local butterflies. What can host plants tell us about our favorite butterflies? Host plants marked with a butterfly symbol un your host plant brochure are stops on a self-guided tour through the garden. Look for signs in the butterfly garden and scan the QR code to access each stop’s information.

Explore the series

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