But first, why are pollinators important? Why do they matter?
“Pollinators are organisms that carry pollen from one flower to another. Flowering plants depend on pollinators in order to reproduce. These relationships are so important that many plants have adapted traits that make their flowers more attractive to pollinators, such as having brightly colored petals or having a sweet smell. In the United States there are over 150 food crops which require animal pollination in order to produce fruit and seeds needed for reproduction. Pollinators can be anything from bees, bats, flies, butterflies, moths, ants, beetles, all the way to birds, hummingbirds and even rats on occasion.
The pollinators don’t carry the pollen from plant to plant for free though. Flowers produce nectar which is a big attractant for some of the major pollinators like bees and butterflies. The insects will land on the flower petals and bury their proboscis (tubular mouth part) deep into the flower in order to suck out the nectar. In this process, the hairs covering the bees and butterflies will become dusted with the pollen on the anthers. When the insect moves to the next flower, some of the pollen will be brushed off of the hairs and deposited into the new plant.
All of these pollinators play a key role in our ecosystem and crop development, but when it comes to impact the honey bees takes the prize. Each year pollination by honey bees directly and indirectly contribute to an estimated $19 billion in economic impact which is $9 billion more than all others combined. It is only because of key organisms like these that our crops and flowers are able to fruit and grow their seeds that we rely on as a source of food and a means to grow even more of these vital plants.”
Indiana Wildlife Federation
With that being said, here are a list of my favorite native pollinator flowers I have added around my garden to make the crops, pollinators, and micro-ecosystem happy.
- Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea
2. Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa
3. Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa