Swallowtail Caterpillar
Host Plants of North America

Photo: WoodleyWonderworks

This page covers swallowtail caterpillar host plants for butterflies found in North America, some in South America. 

Also a note about climbers... they climb.. a lot! Depending on the species they can become invasive. You can successfully keep them on the outskirts of the yard where they will climb the trees.

If you want climbers closer to your house be particular. In time the structure holding the climbers can break down, weather and possibly deteriorate the wood or brick supporting it.

Below is a summary of the plants that are listed under all the Swallowtail caterpillar's host plant preference. 

To View Host Plants for Butterflies of All butterfly families click here

  • Alder (Alnus)
  • Angelica Trees (Aralia Elata)
  • Anise (Illicium)
  • Apple (Malus)
  • Ash (Fraxinus)
  • Aspen (Populus)
  • Avocado
  • Basswood (Tilia)
  • Bay
  • Birch (Betula)
  • Broadleaf (Griselinia Littoralis)
  • Buckthorn
  • Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum Camphora)
  • Carrot (Carum),(Daucua),
  • Celery (Apium)
  • Cheese Schrub (Malva Sylvestris)
  • Cherry (Prunus)
  • Chervil
  • Citrus (Rutaceau)
  • Clover (Trifolium)
  • Coffeberry (Rhamnus California)
  • Cottonwood (Populus)
  • Dill (Apiaceae)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare)
  • Gas Plant (Dictamnus Albus)
  • Guava
  • Hemlock
  • Hoptree (Ptelea Trifoliata)
  • Hercules Club (Aralia Spinosa)
  • Laurel (Prunus Lusitanica)
  • Lilac (Syringa)
  • Lomatium (Apiaceae)
  • Lovage (Levisticum Officinale)
  • Magnolia
  • Milkweed
  • Mint
  • Parsley (Petroselinum)
  • Parsnip (Pastinaca)
  • PawPaw (Asimina Triloba)
  • Plum (Prunus)
  • Pomelo/Pommelo (Asian-Citrus Grandis)
  • Poplar (Populus)
  • Queen Anne's Lace (Anthriscus Sylvestris)
  • Red Puccoon (Sanguinaria)
  • Rose (Rosa)
  • Rosewood (Tipuana Tipu)
  • Rue [Ruta (Rutaceae)]
  • Sagebrushes
  • Sassafras (Lauraceae)
  • Sea Torchwood
  • Snakeroot (Polygala)
  • Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin)
  • Sycamore (Platanus)
  • Tarragon (Artemisia Dracunculus)
  • Torchwood
  • Tulip
  • Verbena
  • Willow
  • Yellow Pimpernal

Swallowtail caterpillar butterfly host plants are by Alphabetical Order.  Refer to the above list of plants - the family or genus of the plant type is given to provide more information.

1) Anise Swallowtail

  • Anise
  • Caraway
  • Carrot
  • Citrus
  • Dill
  • Fennel family including Common, Sweet,
  • Lomatium
  • Lovage
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Queen Anne's Lace
  • Rue

2) Bahamian

  • Citrus
  • Rue

3) Baird's (old World) Swallowtail

  • Carrot
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Milkweed
  • Mint family
  • Tarragon family
  • Sagebrush family

4) Band-Gapped

  • Citrus

5) Black Swallowtail

  • Angelica Trees
  • Caraway
  • Carrot family especially Golden Alexanders
  • Celery
  • Chervil family especially Common and Golden
  • Clover - Be careful! With about 240 species, some can be invasive weeds.
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Lovage
  • Milkweed family especially Common
  • Parsnip family especially water
  • Pipevine
  • Queen Anne's Lace
  • Rue
  • Thistle
  • Water Hemlock including Tsuga, Cowbane (Northern Water)

6) Broad-Banded

  • Citrus family espcially Lemon, Lime, Orange (Bitter, Common, Mandarin)
  • Rue

7) Canadian Tiger

  • Aspen
  • Birch
  • Black Cherry

8) Chinese

  • Citrus

9) Cuban-Kite

  • Citrus

10) Dark-Kite

  • Citrus

11) Eastern Black Swallowtail

  • Carrot family especially Golden Alexanders
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Rue

12) Eastern Tiger

  • Apple family
  • Ash family especially white, green, mountain,
  • Aspen
  • Basswood family
  • Bay family especially Sweet,
  • Birch family
  • Broadleaf
  • Cherry family especially Wild, Black, Choke,
  • Cottonwood
  • HopTree
  • Lilac family
  • Magnolia family - NOT Magnolia Vine -
  • Plum family
  • Poplar family expecially Yellow
  • Rose family
  • Sassafras family
  • Sycamore family
  • Tulip family
  • Willow family

         *Because of the black and yellow stripes this butterfly
               is named 'Tiger'.
         *The darker Tiger Butterflies are believed to mimic
               the poisonous 'Pipevine' Swallowtail.

13) Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

  • Ash family especially water, prickly, lime,
  • Citrus family expecially bitter orange, orange, wild lime
  • Gas Plant
  • Hercules Club family
  • Hoptree
  • Pomelo/Pommelo
  • Rue
  • Sea Torchwood

         *This swallowtail caterpillar is considered a pest
           in southern states where many orange and citrus
           groves are located.

14) Indra Swallowtail

  • Parsley family

15) Kite Swallowtail (Hard to find - mostly in rainforets and tropics)

  • Custard Apple family (Annonaceae) especially Cherimoya, Ilama, Pond Apple
  • Magnolia family

16) Magnificent

  • Avocado
  • Magnolias

17) Montezuma's Cattleheart

  • Dutchman's Pipe family especially Jalisco, Pelican Flower, Aristolochia Micrantha
  • See #24

18) Oregon (Old World) Swallowtail

  • Carrot
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Milkweed
  • Tarregon

19) Ornythion

  • Citrus

20) Ozark

  • Carrot family especially Golden Alexander
  • Parsley family
  • Parsnip family expecially Meadow,
  • Red Puccoon
  • Rosewood
  • Verbena
  • Yellow Pimpernal

21) Palamedes

  • Bay family expecially Red, Swamp, Silk
  • Laurel family
  • Sassafras

22) Pale Spotted

  • Buckthorn family
  • Cherry family especially Holly-leafed
  • Coffeeberry family especially California
  • Lilac family especially California

23) Pink-Spotted

  • Citrus

24) Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

  • NOT Tropical Pipevines
  • Dutchman's Pipe - There are about 300 species of these Pipevines. Be aware many of these are climbers and most come with an unpleasant scent. Many of these are considered tropical and do not welcome the Swallowtail caterpillar.
  • Pipevine family recommend especially Aristolochia California, Big-leaf, Texas, Virginia Snakeroot (A. Serpentana), White-veined, Wooly

         *The Pipevine caterpillar feeds almost exclusively
           on pipevine leaves. This makes both larva and
           adult butterfly poisonous. The darker Tiger Swallow-
           tail mimics the Pipevine by confusing predators
           into thinking they, the Tiger, would be poisonous to.

25) Polydamas

  • NOT Tropical Pipevines
  • Pipevine family especially Giant, Virgina Snakeroot, white-veined,
  • Dutchman's Pipe especially Calico

26) Red-Sided Swallowtail

  • PawPaw
  • Sugar Apple family

27) Ruby-Spotted

  • Citrus family

28) Short-Tailed

  • Celery
  • Lovage especially Scotch
  • Parsley especailly Chinese Hemlock
  • Parsnip expecially Cow
  • Queen Anne's Lace

29) Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

  • Ash family especially Prickley
  • Bay family especially Red, Swamp, Sweet,
  • Camphor Tree
  • Sassafras
  • Spicebush
  • Tulip Tree

30) Schaus's Swallowtail

  • Citrus family
  • Cheese Schrub
  • Guava
  • Hop Tree
  • Torchwood

31) Tailless Swallowtail

  • Snakeroot

32) Thoas

  • Ash family especially Hop, Prickly
  • Citrus family expecailly Lemon, Orange, Wild Lime
  • Rue

33) Three-Tailed Swallowtail

  • Litsea Tree in Lauraceae family

34) Two-Tailed Tiger Swallowtail

  • Ash family especially green
  • Cherry family especially Choke
  • Citrus family
  • HopTree family especially Common, California

35) Variable Cattleheart Swallowtail

  • Dutchman's Pipe, Specifically Aristolochia Cordiflora
  • See #24 Above, Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

36) Western Black Swallowtail

  • Tarragon

37) Western Tiger Swallowtail

  • Alder family
  • Ash family
  • Aspen family
  • Cherry family especially Choke
  • Cottonwood
  • Poplar family
  • Willow family

         *Because of the black and yellow stripes this butterfly
          is named 'Tiger'.

         *The darker Tiger butterflies are believed to mimic
          the poisonous 'Pipevine' Swallowtail.

38) Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

  • PawPaw family especially Dog Banana, Flag, Flat Woods, Ornamental, Scrub, Small-Fruited, Soursop

Swallowtails are found all over the world. Click on the links below for swallowtail caterpillar

To View Host Plants for Butterflies for All butterfly families click here

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