Popular Perennial Flowering Plants Can Attract Diverse Mix of Pollinators


Study findings could help backyard gardeners, landscapers enhance ecological value of urban and suburban greenspaces

Popular species of perennial flowering plants vary widely in their attractiveness to pollinators, but homeowners and landscape managers who select certain perennial cultivars can support a diverse community of pollinators in their own backyards, according to a new study from a team of Penn State researchers.

Insect pollinators are critical in agriculture and natural ecosystems, but these pollinators have experienced global population declines, largely driven by a loss of flowering plants in their landscapes, which they depend on for food.

"We know that greenspaces such as parks and gardens in many human-modified landscapes have the potential to support very rich pollinator communities, including rare or vulnerable species," said study lead author Emily Erickson, postdoctoral scholar in entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "However, urban and suburban pollinator communities tend to lack the diversity they require to be resilient to further disturbances."

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