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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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Friday - June 26, 2015

From: Seattle, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Wildflowers
Title: Pollinators for Washington State
Answered by: Larry Larson


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am removing invasive knotweed in the Pacific Northwest and I would like to provide native plant alternatives that would flower and provide pollen in the late summer/fall for native and naturalized pollinators. Please help and thank you in advance!


Mr Smarty Plants and the Wildflower Center thank you for chasing after and removing that Fallopia japonica

We have a good tool for suggesting alternatives.   The Wildflower Center maintains lists of Special Collections of native plants organized by area and function.  One of these is the Special Collection for “Special Value to Native Bees”   [there are also lists for Bumble Bees, Honey Bees and for nesting materials for native bees]

These special collections have the capability to search the data for region and a number of characteristics.   As you asked about candidates that bloom in late summer or fall – I selected Washington State and plants that bloomed in August through December.  This still left 109 candidates, so I think you have a pretty good choice.  I’ll include pictures from twelve of them below, but you should try to use this database yourself to make a selection!


From the Image Gallery

Chamerion angustifolium

California poppy
Eschscholzia californica

Yellow bee-plant
Peritoma lutea

Rocky mountain bee-plant
Peritoma serrulata

Common woolly sunflower
Eriophyllum lanatum

Clustered thistle
Cirsium brevistylum

Flat-top goldentop
Euthamia graminifolia var. graminifolia

Spotted trumpetweed
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus var. maculatus

Common gaillardia
Gaillardia aristata

Silky lupine
Lupinus sericeus

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Wild mint
Mentha arvensis

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