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State Forest Nursery packet promotes butterfly and bird habitat

  • 3/7/2017 12:13:00 PM
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DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) State Forest Nursery is promoting butterfly and songbird habitat with its March Butterfly and Bird seedling packet. 

“This packet consists of four shrub and one tree species selected for their potential to attract butterflies and songbirds to your property,” says State Forester Paul Tauke. “There has been an increasing amount of attention and concern over the declining number of pollinators active on our landscape. Planting a Butterfly and Bird packet is one small way to help these species recover and improve the health of our environment.”

This Butterfly and Bird packet is only available in March. Cost for the 250 bare-root seedlings is $190 plus tax, shipping and handling, the same price as a regular 200-seedling packet. The Butterfly and Bird packet includes 50 each of the following:

Arrowwood produces white flowers in late May to early June followed by bluish-black berries in the fall. Found in open woodlands, along forest edges and stream sides, it attracts and provides a nectar source for butterflies such as the spring azure, red admiral, eastern comma, red-spotted purple, white-m hairstreak, question mark, and the striped hairstreak, a species of special concern, and the threatened Baltimore butterfly. It is a larval host for Henry’s elfin butterfly.

Chokecherry flowers from April through July and attracts butterflies, honeybees and other pollinators to its flowers and nectar. The caterpillars of the red-spotted purple butterfly use chokecherry leaves as a food source. It is a larval host for the great ash sphinx and the hickory hairstreak, another butterfly species of special concern. It is a nectar source for Juvenal’s duskywing and Henry’s elfin butterflies. Robins, thrushes, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, jays, bluebirds, catbirds, kingbirds and grouse eat chokecherries.

Redosier Dogwood
Redosier dogwood produces cream flowers in May and June. It is a larval host for the spring azure butterfly, and nectar source for the American snout, banded hairstreak and white-m hairstreak butterflies. Redosier dogwood also provides food for the northern flicker, robin, eastern bluebird and purple finch.

Ninebark produces clusters of white flowers and blooms in late spring to early summer. Its flowers provide a nectar source to butterflies and other pollinators. 

This medium to large native tree is a valued urban shade tree. It is a vital larval host plant for many butterflies, including the emperor, question mark, American snout and wild cherry sphinx. The round, deep purple fleshy fruit of the hackberry is attractive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, and is edible to humans.

The seedlings are between 8 and 24 inches, depending on the tree or shrub species.

To take advantage of this offer, call the State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and mention the “Butterfly and Bird Packet.” 

For more ideas and information about attracting pollinators to your property, download the new Iowa’s Woodlands:  Vital Habitat for Native Pollinators at

Each month, the State Forest Nursery creates a different specialty packet with a unique mix of tree and shrub species. This month’s specialty packet is only available to order through March 31, 2017.

Anyone can purchase seedlings from the Iowa State Forest Nursery for CRP projects, to increase wildlife habitat, pollinator potential or to diversify backyard woodlands. More than 40 species are available from the nursery. Seedling choices, including photos and descriptions, can be seen in the seedling catalog at and click on “Seedling Catalog.”

For more information about this monthly special or other tree and shrub seedlings, contact the Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477.