Activities & Experiments

Butterfly Garden Host Plant TourShumard oak & Banded Hairstreak

Holden Arboretum

Adult - Beginner, Adult - Intermediate

Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) is a large tree that grows well in both urban and natural settings.

Like most oaks, Shumard oak has deeply lobed, characteristic “oak” leaves and produces acorns as fruit that are enjoyed by all walks of wildlife.

Shumard oak is one of many trees, including hickories (Carya sp.) and walnuts (Juglans sp.) that serves as a host plant for the Banded Hairstreak butterfly. In fact, it is a host plant for a number of different butterfly species as well. Forest canopies are one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth and many butterflies depend on tall trees like this one to provide nutritious, leafy-green food and plenty of protective cover amongst the thousands of leaves for their caterpillars.

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

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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