Butterflies in Mind -- Zinnia
Susan C. Dunlap
A collection of 50 images as if seen from a butterfly’s point of view. Includes the names of native Zinnia species and the most complete list of US butterflies that will feed on Zinnia blossoms.
Butterflies in Mind -- Asclepias
Susan C. Dunlap
“Milkweed is the single most important plant for Monarch butterflies. This lavishly illustrated book contains details about the structure and cultivation of native Milkweeds, information about the 139 nectar-feeding butterflies they...
Butterflies in Mind -- Monarch
Susan C. Dunlap
This abundantly illustrated volume enables you to select from a complete list of well described perennial nectar plants that are known to attract & feed Monarch butterflies. Over 40 genera are described that are suitable to be grown...
Butterflies in Mind -- Perennials
Susan C. Dunlap
Butterflies in Mind - Perennials. This book is a definitive guide to perennial nectar plants preferred by US butterflies. It empowers you to feed, attract, support (and help identify) nectar-feeding butterflies that reside in the US....

Bidens ferulifolia
(sold as Yellow Empire)

Family: Asteraceae


Native to: Guatemala, Mexico, Southern United States


Types: annual, perennial

Forms: dense form, erect

Max height: 1 foot

Max width: 1 foot






Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bee, bird, specific butterfly species

Plant part consumed by birds: seeds

Exposure: sun

Landscape uses: container, flower fragrant

Propagates by: seed

flowers in fall

Soil type: wide range

USDA Zones: zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f, zone 10 to +30 f, zone 11 to +40 f

Temp. range: +10 to above +40 °F

Water: regular

Bidens, or BEGGAR'S TICKS, a member of the Compositae family, contains 270 species. Bidens attract many adult butterflies and hosts a few as well. When allowed to mature on the plant, the seeds are consumed by birds. Bidens prefer regular watering.

The fall flowering Bidens ferulifolia 'Yellow Empire' is quite commonly available for sale and can grow from seed. It is hardy in Zones 8-11, flowers in fall, and grows to a foot tall. It is treated as an annual in frosty Zones. It can be grown in a container and will attract honey bees.

Any variant of Bidens ferulifolia with Golden, or Yellow, or Goldilocks on the name tag is simply verifying the propensity of this plant to produce attractive yellow blossoms. You may find Bidens sold without the species name - e.g. Bidens 'Yellow Empire' or some such. It will likely have all the wonderful attributes of Bidens ferulifolia and will attract wildlife to your garden.

This plant, as with others in the Compositae family, attracts a long list of butterflies to nectar on the blossoms.

Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant can be grown in a container and will attract and feed adult butterflies. These plant can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall.

Our database of nectar plants for all US butterflies contains over 10,000 entries. The top five nectar plants -- Cirsium, Lantana, Asclepias, Salvia, and Verbena -- will appeal to 90% of all US butterflies. Pick from these if you want to provide nectar for your local butterflies.

Once you start with these, you can add from another 630 genera in 110 plant families to attract more insects to your garden.

By far the most import butterfly nectar plant family is Asteraceae. If you grow plants in from this family, butterflies will find your garden.