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Butterfly Host Plants

Buying butterfly host plants for Australian native butterflies is an excellent way to promote backyard biodiversity and local butterfly conservation. Host plants provide essential food and shelter for caterpillars, which are a crucial part of the butterfly life cycle. By offering a variety of host plants, you can attract a range of butterfly species to your backyard and help to support their populations as well as supporting local native biodiversity. Additionally, native plants are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions, making them low-maintenance and environmentally sustainable options for landscaping. By incorporating butterfly host plants into your backyard, you can create a beautiful and ecologically valuable space that contributes to the health and diversity of the surrounding ecosystem.

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Xerochysum bracteatum - Australian Painted Lady Butterfly

Golden Everlasting Daisy   Aus Endemic

Erect paper daisy with shaggy leaves. Loves an annual trim, is very attractive and popular in the florist industry as dried flowers last. Usually grows in the understory of open woodland but is found in a variety of habitats.

Host plant to the Australian painted lady butterfly Vanessa kershawi

  • Flowering Ground cover

  • H 0.5m - 1m – W 50cm

  • Prefers well-drained most, sandy loam to loam soils

  • Can grow on the coast in sandy soil mixes or on rockeries

  • Prefers a s filtered light position

  • Hardy in the right aspect doesn't like too much or too little water

  • Bird and bee attracting

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Butterfly photo courtesy of fjäril FIR0002
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Acacia spp (we have Various known host species)  - Fiery jewel 

Wattle    Aus Endemic

Acacia, commonly known as wattle, is a genus of flowering plants in the sub family Mimosoideae and in the pea family Fabaceae. With over 1,000 different species, Acacia is the largest group of plants in Australia. In addition to their cultural significance, Acacia plants are ecologically important as well. They are known for their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, which helps to improve soil fertility and support other plant species. They are also important sources of food and habitat for many native animals, including birds, insects, and mammals and is the butterfly host plant for the fiery jewel butterfly Hypochrysops ignitus

  • Fast growing Small Shrub to Trees

  • Various heights

  • Prefers well-drained soil mixes but will tolerate clay soils

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Drought Hardy, Most are salt tolerant and grow in coastal areas

  • Bird and bee attracting

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Hairy Psychotria  Eastern Aus Endemic

Interesting rust-coloured hairs on foliage, clusters of white flowers in February/April the creamy/yellow berries in March/August which are edible and can sometimes be sweet but if grown in poor conditions fruit hairs can irritate the throat. Understory shrub  that grows on the borders of rainforest and other more open woodland types such as wet eucalyptus forest

  • Small Shrub

  • H 1- 2.5m – W 0.5m

  • Prefers well-drained, rich loam, moist soils

  • Can grow on the coast in sandy soil mixes

  • Prefers a shady filtered light position

  • Hardy, salt tolerant grows in coastal areas

  • Bird and bee attracting

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Some informative websites

Here are some informative Australian native butterfly websites that highlight species found in Brisbane:

1.     Brisbane Insects

 This website provides information and photos of insects found in and around Brisbane, including a section on butterflies. It features photos and descriptions of various butterfly species found in the region.

2. Butterflies of Australia:

Another excellent website for learning about native Australian butterflies is the Butterflies and Moths of Australia website. This website provides a comprehensive guide to the butterflies and moths found in Australia, including information on their distribution, biology, and ecology. It includes photos and descriptions of each species, for identifying and studying Australian butterflies.

3.     Queensland Museum: You can submit enquire about unknown species through the Queensland Museums entomology department.

You do have to acquire either a sample to send or take photos with relevant features to be able to identify the species. Get in contact to find out more about how to do this. 


  4. Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network - Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland

The Richmond Birdwing Corridor Project is a conservation initiative based in Australia that aims to restore habitat for the endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia), which is endemic to the east coast of Australia. The project is focused on creating a continuous corridor of suitable habitat for the butterfly between the two remaining populations in the wild, which are located in northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland.

The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is one of Australia's largest and most spectacular butterflies, with a wingspan of up to 16cm. However, the species has declined dramatically due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and the spread of an invasive species of vine, the Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia elegans), which is toxic to the butterfly's larvae. The Richmond Birdwing Corridor Project seeks to address these threats by working with local communities, government agencies, and landowners to plant the butterfly's preferred host plant, the Native Dutchman's Pipe (Pararistolochia praevenosa), and remove the invasive vine.

The project also focuses on educating the public about the importance of butterfly conservation and promoting the creation of butterfly-friendly gardens and habitats. This is crucial as habitat loss and fragmentation are significant threats to not just the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly but also to many other butterfly species in Australia.

In addition to the Richmond Birdwing Corridor Project, there are several other initiatives focused on butterfly conservation in Australia.


Australia is home to a diverse range of butterfly species, many of which are endemic to the country. However, like many other wildlife species, butterflies in Australia face numerous threats to their survival, including habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, invasive species, and pesticide use. In response, several conservation initiatives have been established across the country to protect and conserve Australian native butterfly populations

Overall, these conservation initiatives play a vital role in protecting and conserving Australia's unique and diverse butterfly populations. Through education, research, and community engagement, these organizations are working to raise awareness about the importance of butterfly conservation and to encourage people to take action to protect these important species and their habitats.

“We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we are on today the Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi people.

We show our respect to all elders, past, present and emerging, and acknowledge and celebrate the culture, the custodianship and the connection to these people and the land we are on”

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