Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beneficial Herbacious Plants for mid-Atlantic Lepidoptera

Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded just keeps getting better and better. While I'm not sure about his most recent edition of his book, arguably the bible of our age, but his website now offers a key to herbaceous plants.

Here is an excerpt.
Common Name
Plant Genus Butterfly/moth species supported
Goldenrod Solidago 115
Asters Aster 112
Sunflower Helianthus 73
Joe pye, Boneset Eupatorium 42
Morning glory Ipomoea 39
Sedges Carex 36
Honeysuckle Lonicera 36
Lupine Lupinus 33
Violets Viola 29
Geraniums Geranium 23
Black-eyed susan Rudbeckia 17
Iris Iris 17
Evening primrose Oenothera 16
Milkweed Asclepias 12
Verbena Verbena 11
Beardtongue Penstemon 8
Phlox Phlox 8
Bee balm Monarda 7
Veronica Veronica 6
Little bluestem Schizachyrium 6
Cardinal flower Lobelia 4

Learn more about the study from which these numbers were derived or download the complete list of data from this study (an Excel spreadsheet).
 This coming year I'll officially have 5 different species of Solidago, hopefully 5 Aster, 2 Sunflower, and 3 Eupatorium. Ipomoea is a neat idea, but really only 5 or so are native to the North East. I'll have to look into adding a few of those. Certainly I. lacunosa or I. hederifolia might make it into my garden. Carex isn't my favorite but it seems I'll have to look into them too. Frankly though I'd rather establish a patch of Irises though. Lupinus I've tried before, but I believe my soil is just to clay like for them to establish. The Violets here were a weed well before I started gardening. Geraniums will be on the list next year for sure, maybe even a fall planting. Rudbeckia I'm taking care of in Spring for sure.

So it's sounding like I'm doing things right.

There is also a list for Woody Plants as well.