Butterfly Conservation is a registered charity with a national membership of over 14,000. The Society is dedicated to the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats.
Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.

Larval Foodplants

This page lists the larval foodplants used by British butterflies. The name of each foodplant links to a Google search. An indication of whether the foodplant is a primary or secondary food source is also given.

Common Name Scientific Name Primary Foodplant For Secondary Foodplant For
Agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria
Grizzled Skipper
 
Alder Buckthorn Frangula alnus
Brimstone
 
Aspen Populus tremula
 Large Tortoiseshell
Barren Strawberry Potentilla sterilis
 Grizzled Skipper
Bell Heather Erica cinerea
Silver-studded Blue
 
Bents (various) Agrostis spp.
Gatekeeper
Meadow Brown
Small Heath
Wall
 
Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus
Green Hairstreak
 
Birches (various) Betula spp.
 Large Tortoiseshell
Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Common Blue
Cryptic Wood White
Dingy Skipper
Green Hairstreak
Short-tailed Blue
Silver-studded Blue
Wood White
Clouded Yellow
Bitter Vetch Lathyrus linifolius
Cryptic Wood White
Wood White
 
Black Medick Medicago lupulina
 Common Blue
Blackthorn Prunus spinosa
Black Hairstreak
Black-veined White
Brown Hairstreak
Scarce Swallowtail
 
Bladder-senna Colutea arborescens
Long-tailed Blue
 
Blue Moor-grass Sesleria caerulea
Scotch Argus
 
Bramble Rubus fruticosus
 Green Hairstreak
Grizzled Skipper
Holly Blue
Bristle Bent Agrostis curtisii
Grayling
 
Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius
 Small Copper
Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea Lathyrus latifolius
Long-tailed Blue
 
Broom Cytisus scoparius
Green Hairstreak
Long-tailed Blue
 
Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica
Brimstone
Green Hairstreak
Bullace Prunus domestica
Scarce Swallowtail
Brown Hairstreak
Charlock Sinapis arvensis
Green-veined White
Orange-tip
Small White
Cherry Cerasus spp.
Scarce Swallowtail
 
Clovers (various) Trifolium spp.
Clouded Yellow
Pale Clouded Yellow
 
Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata
Essex Skipper
Large Skipper
Meadow Brown
Ringlet
Speckled Wood
Wall
Small Skipper
Common Cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium
 Large Heath
Common Couch Elytrigia repens
Ringlet
Speckled Wood
Essex Skipper
Gatekeeper
Common Cow-wheat Melampyrum pratense
Heath Fritillary
 
Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana
Dark Green Fritillary
High Brown Fritillary
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Silver-washed Fritillary
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
 
Common Nettle Urtica dioica
Comma
Map
Peacock
Red Admiral
Small Tortoiseshell
Painted Lady
Common Reed Phragmites australis
 Large Chequered Skipper
Common Restharrow Ononis repens
 Common Blue
Common Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium
Brown Argus
Green Hairstreak
Northern Brown Argus
Silver-studded Blue
 
Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa
Small Copper
 
Common Stork's-bill Erodium cicutarium
 Brown Argus
Cowslip Primula veris
Duke of Burgundy
 
Crack-willow Salix fragilis
 Purple Emperor
Creeping Cinquefoil Potentilla reptans
Grizzled Skipper
 
Creeping Soft-grass Holcus mollis
 Essex Skipper
Small Skipper
Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix
Silver-studded Blue
Green Hairstreak
Crucifers (various) Cruciferae family (various)
Bath White
Large White
Small White
Green-veined White
Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis
Green-veined White
Orange-tip
 
Cudweeds (various) Gnaphalium spp.
American Painted Lady
 
Currants (various) Ribes spp.
 Comma
Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis
Marsh Fritillary
 
Dog-rose Rosa canina
 Grizzled Skipper
Dogwood Cornus sanguinea
 Green Hairstreak
Dogwoods (various) Cornus spp.
 Holly Blue
Dove's-foot Crane's-bill Geranium molle
 Brown Argus
Downy Oat-grass Helictotrichon pubescens
Meadow Brown
 
Dyer's Greenweed Genista tinctoria
Green Hairstreak
 
Early Hair-grass Aira praecox
Grayling
 
Elms (various) Ulmus spp.
Camberwell Beauty
Large Tortoiseshell
Comma
English Elm Ulmus procera
White-letter Hairstreak
 
Evergreen Oak Quercus ilex
 Purple Hairstreak
False Brome Brachypodium sylvaticum
Meadow Brown
Ringlet
Speckled Wood
Wall
Essex Skipper
Large Chequered Skipper
Large Skipper
Small Skipper
False Oxlip Primula veris x vulgaris
 Duke of Burgundy
Fescues (various) Festuca spp.
Gatekeeper
Meadow Brown
Small Heath
 
Field Pansy Viola arvensis
Queen of Spain Fritillary
 
Field Scabious Knautia arvensis
 Marsh Fritillary
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
 Heath Fritillary
Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata
Green-veined White
Orange-tip
Small White
Geraniums (various) Geranium spp.
Geranium Bronze
 
Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys
Heath Fritillary
 
Goat Willow Salix caprea
Purple Emperor
 
Gorse Ulex europeaus
Green Hairstreak
Silver-studded Blue
 
Gorses (various) Ulex spp.
 Holly Blue
Grasses (various) Gramineae spp.
Arran Brown
 
Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus pedunculatus
Cryptic Wood White
Wood White
Common Blue
Dingy Skipper
Grey Willow Salix cinerea
 Purple Emperor
Hairy Rock-cress Arabis hirsuta
 Orange-tip
Hairy Violet Viola hirta
Dark Green Fritillary
High Brown Fritillary
 
Hare's-tail Cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum
Large Heath
 
Hawthorns (various) Crataegus spp.
Black-veined White
 
Heath Dog-violet Viola canina
 High Brown Fritillary
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Heather Calluna vulgaris / Erica spp.
Silver-studded Blue
 
Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale
Green-veined White
Bath White
Orange-tip
Small White
Hoary Cress Lepidium draba
 Small White
Holly Ilex spp.
Holly Blue
 
Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum
White Admiral
 
Hop Humulus lupulus
 Comma
Peacock
Red Admiral
Horseshoe Vetch Hippocrepis comosa
Adonis Blue
Berger's Clouded Yellow
Chalk Hill Blue
Silver-studded Blue
Dingy Skipper
Ivy Hedera helix
Holly Blue
 
Jointed Rush Juncus articulatus
 Large Heath
Kidney Vetch Anthyllis vulneraria
Small Blue
 
Large Bitter-cress Cardamine amara
Green-veined White
Orange-tip
Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium
 Common Blue
Lucerne Medicago sativa
Clouded Yellow
Pale Clouded Yellow
Short-tailed Blue
 
Mallows (various) Malva spp.
 Painted Lady
Mange-tout pea Pisum sativum
 Long-tailed Blue
Marram Ammophila arenaria
 Grayling
Marsh Violet Viola palustris
Dark Green Fritillary
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Mat-grass Nardus stricta
Mountain Ringlet
 
Meadow Foxtail Alopecurus pratensis
 Essex Skipper
Small Skipper
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Cryptic Wood White
Wood White
 
Meadow-grasses (various) Poa spp.
Gatekeeper
Meadow Brown
Ringlet
Small Heath
 
Mignonettes (various) Reseda spp.
Bath White
 
Milk-parsley Peucedanum palustre
Swallowtail
 
Milkweeds (various) Asclepias spp.
Monarch
 
Narrow-leaved Everlasting-pea Lathyrus sylvestris
Long-tailed Blue
 
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
Small White
Green-veined White
Large White
Pale Dog-violet Viola lactea
 High Brown Fritillary
Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur
Purple Hairstreak
 
Pelargoniums (various) Pelargonium spp.
Geranium Bronze
 
Pellitory-of-the-wall Parietaria judaica
 Red Admiral
Poplars (various) Populus spp.
Camberwell Beauty
Large Tortoiseshell
Primrose Primula vulgaris
Duke of Burgundy
 
Purple Moor-grass Molinia caerulea
Chequered Skipper
Large Chequered Skipper
Scotch Argus
Large Skipper
Purple Small-reed Calamagrostis canescens
 Large Chequered Skipper
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Mazarine Blue
Short-tailed Blue
 
Red Fescue Festuca rubra
Grayling
Marbled White
 
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Glanville Fritillary
Heath Fritillary
 
Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor
 Grizzled Skipper
Sea Radish Raphanus raphanistrum
 Bath White
Sessile Oak Quercus petraea
Purple Hairstreak
 
Sheep's Sorrel Rumex acetosella
Small Copper
 
Sheep's-fescue Festuca ovina
Grayling
Marbled White
Silver-spotted Skipper
 
Small Nettle Urtica urens
Map
Small Tortoiseshell
Peacock
Red Admiral
Small Scabious Scabiosa columbaria
 Marsh Fritillary
Small-leaved Elm Ulmus minor
White-letter Hairstreak
 
Snowberries (various) Symphoricarpos spp.
 Holly Blue
Spindle Euonymus europaeus
 Holly Blue
Stonecrop Sedum spp.
Apollo
 
Thistles Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.
American Painted Lady
Painted Lady
 
Timothy Phleum pratense
 Essex Skipper
Small Skipper
Tor-grass Brachypodium pinnatum
Lulworth Skipper
Marbled White
Wall
Essex Skipper
Large Skipper
Tormentil Potentilla erecta
 Grizzled Skipper
Tufted Hair-grass Deschampsia cespitosa
Ringlet
Grayling
Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca
Cryptic Wood White
Short-tailed Blue
Wood White
 
Turkey Oak Quercus cerris
Purple Hairstreak
 
Turnip Brassica rapa
 Orange-tip
Viper's-bugloss Echium vulgare
 Painted Lady
Water Dock Rumex hydrolapathum
Large Copper
 
Water-cress Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum
Green-veined White
 
Wavy Hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa
Wall
 
White Clover Trifolium repens
 Common Blue
Wild Cabbage Brassica oleracea
Green-veined White
Small White
Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare
 Large Blue
Wild Mignonette Reseda lutea
 Bath White
Large White
Small White
Wild Pansy Viola tricolor
Queen of Spain Fritillary
 
Wild Plum Prunus domestica
Scarce Swallowtail
Black Hairstreak
Wild Radish Raphanus raphanistrum
Green-veined White
 
Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca
Grizzled Skipper
 
Wild Thyme Thymus polytrichus
Large Blue
 
Willows (various) Salix spp.
Camberwell Beauty
Comma
Large Tortoiseshell
Winter-cress Barbarea vulgaris
 Orange-tip
Wood Avens Geum urbanum
 Grizzled Skipper
Wood Small-reed Calamagrostis epigejoss
 Large Skipper
Wych Elm Ulmus glabra
White-letter Hairstreak
 
Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus
Marbled White
Small Skipper
Speckled Wood
Wall
 

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