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Butterfly Habitat Garden

The Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden is 11,000 square foot area that supports plant species having specific relationships to life cycles of eastern United States butterflies. It is located on the East side of the National Museum of Natural History at 9th Street between Constitution Avenue and the National Mall in Washington, DC.

A sweat bee (Augochlorellaa) on a black-eyed Susan in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

The Butterfly Garden: A Haven for Wild Bees

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Bumble bee (Bombus sp) foraging in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

The Butterfly Garden: A Haven for Wild Bees

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A carpenter bee (Xylocopa) with full pollen baskets in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

The Butterfly Garden: A Haven for Wild Bees

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In major urban landscape such as Washington, D.C., a place like the Smithsonian Institution’s Butterfly Habitat Garden serves a valuable purpose as a rich and rewarding refuge, not only for butterflies, but also for bees.

The Butterfly Garden: A Haven for Wild Bees

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Milkweed bug nymphs by DC Tropics, via Flickr

Smithsonian Gardens’ Butterfly Habitat Garden outside the National Museum of Natural History - check out a list of pollinator-attracting plants on our blog.

Protecting Pollinators

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Smithsonian Gardens’ Butterfly Habitat Garden outside the National Museum of Natural History - check out a list of pollinator-attracting plants on our blog.

Protecting Pollinators

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We are celebrating #PollinatorWeek at Smithsonian Gardens. Bee on a Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) in the Butterfly Habitat Garden

Protecting Pollinators

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Snowberry Clearwing moth (Hemaris diffinis) in the Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr member AsiVivo

Monarch caterpillar in the Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr member AsiVivo

The caterpillar in this video will become a Black Swallowtail Butterfly. The projections from the caterpillar's head are forked glands called osmeterium. When the caterpillar believes it is in danger it will release these glands and emit a foul odor to repel predators. (Don't worry! No caterpillars were harmed in the making of this video.)

Green Darner dragonfly (Anax Junius) at the Smithsonian butterfly garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Cabbage White in the Butterfly Garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Candy Lily (Pardancanda norrisii) in the Butterfly Garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Black swallowtail caterpillar in the Butterfly Habitat Garden | by Flickr user AsiVivo

We found this little fellow hanging out in the Butterfly Habitat Garden looking well fed - stay tuned - he'll be a Monarch Butterfly soon!

'Paprika' Yarrow in the SI Butterfly Habitat Garden

Monarch Butterfly on a path of Lantanas | by Flickr user AsiVivo

Smithsonian Butterfly Garden | by Flickr user clio1789

Beautiful shot of the Smithsonian Butterfly Garden! by Flickr user Eguren

Planting a spice bush is an easy way to attract spice bush swallowtails. The spice bush is a deciduous shrub which can grow as high as 6-10 feet!

Butterfly Milkweed in the Smithsonian Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Gardens Part 1: Host Plants!

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Tomatoes attract several species of moths; two of them are infamous to experienced back-yard tomato gardeners. Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) and tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) are identified by the “horn” protruding from the rear of the caterpillar. Both are voracious eaters and will munch on tomato foliage and fruit. They are not welcome visitors in most vegetable gardens, but they are invited to dine in the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

Curly parsley is a popular herb that attracts Anise Swallowtails (Papilio zelicaon) and Eastern Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes) in their larval stage.