Butterfly Garden Plant Croton capitatus Goatweed

Butterfly Garden Plants


(Croton capitatus)

Other common names for this plant include Hogwort, Hogweed, Doveweed, and Woolly Croton

General Information
Cultural Requirements
Native Range
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General InformationNABA_DividerBar

Goatweed Leafwings

Goatweed Leafwings

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 butterfly nectar source:
Not a butterfly nectar source.

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.


Cultural RequirementsNABA_DividerBar

USDA Hardiness Zone N/A
Bloom Period June through August
Bloom Color White
Plant Height 1 to 3 feet
Plant Spread Varies
Light Exposure Sun
Soil Moisture Moist
Animal/Disease Problems None


Native RangeNABA_DividerBar
Croton capitatus







Plant RatingNABA_DividerBar
Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating 1
Nectar Rating 0
Caterpillar Rating 3


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