Karner Blue

Karner Blue on Wild Lupine

The Karner Blue, Plebejus melissa samuelis, is a small, endangered butterfly found primarily around the Great Lakes, though it is also the state butterfly of New Hampshire. Wild lupine provides the sole food for the larvae. Garden varieties of lupine won’t cut it—it has to be the wild lupine, Lupinus perennis. Vast stands of the plant are a common sight in road ditches in June up and down the North Shore of Minnesota.

In this species of butterfly, the female is the more spectacularly colored, with orange crescents along the edge of the blue wings, while the males lack orange on the topside. Both are soft gray on the underside with patches of orange along the edges.