Though not a book with hefty covers, Xerces Societies’ downloadable pamphlet, Habitat Assessment Guide for Pollinators in Yards, Gardens, and Parks is a MUST have reference for the neighbor of habitat. It gives as much information as any on what to plant to be a part of the new garden phenomenon.
The booklet also describes how landscaping and natural areas in a neighborhood can help facilitate the movement of pollinators from one patch of habitat to another, and increase the likelihood that they will have enough food and nesting sites to build healthy populations. It includes not just native plants, but flowering trees and shrubs, vegetable gardens, and even places for nesting.
Much of the information below is quoted directly from the pamphlet.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation19-038_01Xerces Society Recommended High Value Plants for Pollinators.
(SUPER) – POLLINATOR “SUPERFOODS”—Certain native plants are known to provide exceptional forage for a wide variety of bees and other pollinators, including monarchs. See table below for a list of some of these plants.
(SpBee) – FOOD FOR SPECIALIST BEES—Many native bees are “specialists,” only collecting pollen and other resorces from specific plants. See table below for a list of plants known to provide food for a number of specialist bees.
(LpHost) – LEPIDOPTERA HOST PLANTS—The caterpillars of many butterflies and moths can only feed on specific plants. For example, great spangled fritillary larvae only feed on violet leaves. Some plants support an amazing diversity of lepidoptera; e.g., oaks support hundreds of butterflies and moths species. Since most native plants support at least one butterfly or moth, we use F for a genus supports over five species OR one species that doesn’t eat anything else.
High Value Plants, Region Specific
I will start my focus on the HIGH Value Plants for the Rocky Mountain Region. The pamphlet gives other region suggestions if you are interested. As I convert from pretty to useful, the plants below will be considered. **Those with links are plants in my garden. While the list below provides the general Genus name (example Dalea), I have search for natives found in my state that are available for purchase. These contain the species name.
Determine whats native to state: Do search on genus name in USDA plants state search
Callirhoe [poppymallow] SpBee
Dalea Purpurea** [prairie clover] SpBee SUPER
Ericameria [goldenbush, rabbitbrush] LpHost SUPER
Eriogonum umbellatum** [ wild buckwheat] SpBee, LpHost
Geranium [wild geranium] SpBee
Heterotheca [false goldenaster] SpBee SUPER LpHost
Machaeranthera [tansyaster] LPHost SUPER (seed)
Sphaeralcea [globemallow] SpBee SUPER LpHost
-example: Colorado Sphaeralcea – Sphaeralcea angustifolia pretty copper globemallow.
Vernonia [ironweed] SpBee SUPER LpHost
High Value for most regions
Appropriate for Most Regions, these plants are no less ecosystem friendly, but may not feed specific populations.
Where to start ? Create a food web with insects in mind.
- Get a (LpHost) – The plants catapillars love. The caterpillars of many butterflies and moths. But you also need to be on the lookout for the invader — the European paper wasp. Remove their homes!
- Find a specialist to provide a home (SpBee) .
- Choose a (SUPER) food plant to power up our adults busy readying for babes.
(SUPER) – POLLINATOR “SUPERFOODS”—exceptional forage for a wide variety of bees and other pollinators, including monarchs.
(SpBee) – FOOD FOR SPECIALIST BEES—Many native bees are “specialists,” only collecting pollen and other resorces from specific plants.
(LpHost) – LEPIDOPTERA HOST PLANTS—The caterpillars of many butterflies and moths
|Flowering plants (Forbs/Herbs)|
|Agastache [giant hyssop] SUPER||Helianthus [sunflower] SUPER SpBee LpHost||Salvia [sage] SUPER SpBee LpHost|
|Asclepias [milkweed] SUPER LpHost||Lupinus [lupine] LpHost||Solidago [goldenrod] SUPER SpBee LpHost – Have Seed from CoNPS|
|Cirsium [thistle (native)] SUPER SpBee||Monarda/Monardella[beebalm] SUPER SpBee LpHost||Symphyotrichum [aster] SUPER SpBee LpHost|
|Echinacea [purple coneflower] SpBee||Penstemon [beardtongue] SpBee LpHost||Verbena [vervain] SpBee|
|Euthamia [goldentop] SUPER SpBee||Ratibida [coneflower] SpBee||Viola [violets] SpBee LpHost|