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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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Thursday - February 03, 2011

From: Wilmington, DE
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Monardas in section Cheilyctis not visited by hummingbirds.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

This is a correction. In your plant database, Monarda punctata is said to attract hummingbirds, but all peer reviewed research suggests it, and other members of Monarda in section Cheilyctis, are strictly insect-pollinated. Monarda in this section were the focus of my graduate research. I've never observed a hummingbird at them in the wild or my hummingbird-filled garden. I've observed the same when growing Texas endemics Monarda fruticulosa, M. viridissima, M. maritima and M. stanfieldii. As an aside, Monarda maritima, M. viridissima and M. stanfieldii are so rare and narrowly endemic I'm surprised they're not listed as endangered. Let me know if you could use pictures of them.

ANSWER:

We love corrections!  Your information is both welcome and enlightening.  We found lots of references that claimed Monarda punctata (Spotted beebalm) is visited by hummingbirds, so learning that it is not is great information.  Perhaps some observers were confused by seeing Snowberry clearwings or other species of hummingbird moths visiting their beebalms.  Since hummingbirds do nectar at Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm) (not in section Cheilyctis) some may have simply assumed hummingbirds feed at all monardas.

Also, thank you for your offer to contribute images of Monarda species to NPIN!  We are always looking for sharply-focused, high-resolution images of North American native plant species to add to the Image Gallery.  Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as us saying, “Yes, we can use that picture!” and then posting the pictures on our website.  Here is a link to the Contribute Images page on NPIN that explains what we need.  We love flower pictures, but are especially interested in excellent images of fruits, leaves, armature, whole plants and other, non-flower views of native plants.  

To boil it down, though, we need three (or four) things: 

1. The highest resolution versions available of images of North American native plant species.  The image as it comes out of your camera is almost always the best version of your pictures for our needs.  It is usually not necessary to do any post-production work on your images, though you may if you wish so long as edits do not result in an unnatural representation of the subject.  All images published in NPIN are in a 4:3 (or 3:4) aspect ratio.  Any images received that are in other aspect ratios are cropped to conform to our format.  If you’re cropping for artistic purposes, you might keep that in mind. 

2. We must have a completed and signed hard copy of our Image Contributor Form before we can publish your images in NPIN.  The form would be signed by the photographer.  If there is more than one photographer, then we need a separate form for each. 

3. Because the Image Gallery is a scientific resource, we also need data to associate with the image.  To that end, we provide an Image Gallery Spreadsheet which includes fields for all of the information needed.

4.  Finally, we like to include a short biographical statement on the photographer’s collection page for each of our contributors.  Whether or not you would like to write up a short bio with information about how and why you came to be a photographer of native plants is entirely voluntary.  However, we hope you will.  Here are links to a couple sample pages with bios like I’m talking about: http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/search_image.php?newsearch=true&id_photographer=150&id_collection= http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/search_image.php?newsearch=true&id_photographer=155&id_collection=

 

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