Goatweed (Croton capitatus)
Other common names for this plant include Hogwort, Hogweed, Doveweed, and Woolly Croton.
This annual plant is often treated more as a weed than a garden plant most likely due to the its lack of showy flowers. Found in fields, pastures, roadsides and prairies, goatweed has a long blooming period and produces seeds that are valuable food for ground feeding birds like doves and quail. If you wish to include goatweed in your butterfly habitat, it is important that the the plant produce seed to provide for the following year's plants.
Importance as a caterpillar food source: Goatweed Leafwing caterpillars use the plant as food and shelter. Individual eggs are laid on the underside leaves of the goatweed plant. After hatching, the caterpillars use the leaves for food and also as shelter inside either a folded or rolled leaf. It should be noted that the adult butterflies are attracted to rotting fruit, dung, and sap as food sources and that goatweed is used only as caterpillar food.The three Goatweed Leafwings in the photo are eating tree sap from a costal myrtle tree.
Goatweed is also used by Gray Hairstreaks as a caterpillar food. Gray Hairstreaks use a number of food plants in addition to goatweed.
Importance as a butterfly nectar source: Goatweed is not a nectar source.
|USDA Hardiness Zone|
|Bloom Period||June through August|
|Plant Height||1 - 3 feet|
Native Range for Goatweed- Croton capitatus