1. The Butterfly Garden

Welcome to stop #1, The Butterfly Garden


Our Environmental Learning Center campus boasts only native plants.  Native means species that occur within state boundaries before European contact. 


Native plants attract native wildlife.


Our butterfly garden was designed with special types of native plants in mind: host plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies.  Both types of plants are necessary for a healthy butterfly garden.


You can spot some of the host plants by looking for nibbled leaves.  Throughout the year different flowers bloom and attract different butterflies.


Painted signs identify some of our native Florida butterflies that you will hopefully see throughout your walk.  Can you find the sign of the Zebra Longwing?


The Zebra Longwing is the Florida state butterfly. Now, this butterfly lays its eggs on passion vine leaves. Passion vines contain toxins that are consumed by the caterpillars.  The toxins don’t harm the catepillars, yet make the adult butterflies poisonous to predators.


The Zebra Longwing is the only known butterfly to eat nectar and pollen, which is probably why they have a long lifespan of about six months, as compared to a more usual one month lifespan of other butterflies


One of the favorite nectar sources for the Zebra Longwing is the fire bush.  You can find firebush in the butterfly garden and throughout ELC campus.  Be on the look out!