San Francisco Department of the Environment

Green Hairstreak

Discovered by modern science among "the hills of San Francisco" in the late 1800's, the Green Hairstreak is a nickel-sized butterfly isolated in two remnant native habitats within the city. It survives on the hilltops of the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood and also benefits from a larger expanse of habitat on the coastal bluffs and dunes of the Presidio. The Green Hairstreak is a member of the Lycaenidae Family, or "gossamer-winged" butterflies, and historically flew throughout the peninsula before urban development.

The local non-profit organization, Nature in the City, has a heroic and successful project to restore an urban ecological butterfly corridor in Golden Gate Heights. The goal of the Green Hairstreak Project is to connect the four natural areas (managed by Recreation and Parks Natural Areas Program) by restoring the streetscape with its host – coast buckwheat - and nectar plants throughout that neighborhood. If the two natural areas populations can interbreed, their genetic viability and diversity will be more secure. Nature in the City stewards ten planted Green Hairstreak sites in the neighborhood – nine are Street Parks and the tenth is in collaboration with Kids and Parks at Hoover Middle School. The Green Hairstreak Ecosystem Corridor Restoration is having tremendous success since, not only are the butterflies being seen in the street park sites, but breeding has also been documented!


Related Content

Spot 16 species native to San Francisco (Species Stories, PDF)

Additional Resources

Presidio Clarkia
Wild Habitat Conservation
San Francisco Plant Checklists
Butterfly Plants for Native Gardens
Habitat Gardens