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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - April 15, 2015

From: Harrisonburg, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Pollinators, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Native Perennials for Bees and Butterflies in VA
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

What native perennial plants and trees can we plant to help honey bees and butterfly larvae in Harrisonburg, VA?

ANSWER:

To develop a list of native perennial plants that are beneficial to butterflies and moths and that grow in Virginia, start with our special collections list of Plants for Butterflies and Moths of North America. Next, narrow your search to only Virginia native plants by selecting your state. Then select "herb" general appearance and "perennial" lifespan. This will give you a list of 48 plants for your region. After this change your search criteria to Trees for another list of Butterfly beneficial plants for your area. When you look over these plants, check out the "Use Wildlife" under the Benefits section and you will see if the plant is also attracts bees (many do). Another way to search for plants of value to native, bumble or honey bees is to go to the Special Collections list and look in the "Value to Beneficial Insects" section and do the same searches as decribed above. You will find that there are 24 trees that are special value to honey bees and that grow in Virginia. Several are included in the image section below.

 

From the Image Gallery


Sugar maple
Acer saccharum

Southern catalpa
Catalpa bignonioides

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tupelo
Nyssa sylvatica

Sourwood
Oxydendrum arboreum

Black cherry
Prunus serotina

Staghorn sumac
Rhus typhina

Black locust
Robinia pseudoacacia

Clammy locust
Robinia viscosa

American basswood
Tilia americana

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