For our regular STEM Friday feature we recommend two books about trees for children,just in time forArbor Day,next Friday April 24,2015.(Read the rest of the reviews and see a video book trailer atWrapped in Foil blog.) Then we'll finish out Butterfly Gardening With Children Week with a discussion of trees for butterfly gardens.
The first book,Branching Out: How Trees Are Part of Our Worldby Joan Marie Galat and illustrated by Wendy Ding (2014),describes a particular species of tree,how it used by humans,and what animals depend on that kind of tree in a series of four-page spreads.The 11 species of trees highlighted range from red maples and downy birches to pau brasil and cork oaks.
The second book,Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the Worldby Margi Preus and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (2011),consists of a series of two-page spreads telling the stories of 14 famous,tall and exceptionally-old trees from around the world,the back matter gives more information about the trees and a number of suggestions about what the reader can do to help and encourage trees.
Appropriate for butterfly gardening week: In the section about oak trees in the back matter of this book,we find out thata single large oak tree can support up to 34 species of butterflies!
That fact reminds us that although growing pretty flowers helps the adult butterflies,to have a truly productive butterfly garden you need to supply food for caterpillars as well.
Many beautiful species of butterflies require trees as larval hosts.
1.Hackberrytrees (Celtisspecies) are larval food for
- Tawny emperor butterflies
- Hackberry emperor butterflies
- Mourning cloak butterflies
- Question Mark butterflies
- Snout butterfly
Hackberry emperor butterfly (Public domain photograph byMegan McCarty)
(Seed of the Week post aboutCanyon Hackberry)
2.Live oaksare larval food for California sister butterfly larvae.
Some duskywings and hairstreaks also use oaks for food.
3.Black cherry(Prunus serotina) trees are larval food for:
- Red-spotted purple
- Eastern tiger swallowtail
- Coral hairstreak
4.Citrus trees(orange,lemon grapefruit) attract numerous giant swallowtails.Their larvae are called orange dog caterpillars.
In addition to larval food,trees provide shelter for butterflies (and a multitude of other animals),provide safe places for the caterpillars to pupate,and some flowering trees supply nectar for many more adult butterflies.
In his book,Bringing Nature Home,entomologist Doug Tallamy gives alist of how many species of butterflies and mothsare supported by 21 kinds of trees.The numbers are astonishing!He says oak trees (genusQuercus) provide food for some 534 different species of butterflies and moths.Given that those butterflies are important pollinators and parts of the food web,that is an enormous contribution.
If you are going to plant a tree for Arbor Day or any other event,consider choosing a local species that will host butterflies.You will get yet another benefit from a tree.Please leave a comment if you have any questions about how to choose a suitable butterfly host tree for your area.
Interested in reading more great books about trees for Arbor Day?Try ourgiant,redwood-sized list of children's books about treesat Science Books for Kids.
Disclosures: The books above were from my local library.Also,I am an affiliate for Amazon.If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase,I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.
Come visit theSTEM Fridayblog each week to find more great Science,Technology,Engineering and Math books.