Native Plants – Why They Matter

Native Plants – Why They Matter

May 2020 – Meeting Minutes

Naturalists’ Club Meeting

18 May 2022

Attendance – 38

Speaker:  Leslie Duthie – Native Plants – Why They Matter

Leslie Duthie, who retired in 2019 after decades as horticulturalist at Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary, ended the monthly meetings for 2021-2022 with a report on the advantages of gardening with native plants.  An important short answer to the question “why use natives?” is that native plants attract native wildlife.  Among the natives mentioned and the animals dependent on them were columbine (hummingbirds), violets (fritillary butterfly), asters and goldenrods (migrating songbirds) and dogwoods and viburnums.  Humans have developed cultivars (short for cultivated varieties, which Leslie called nativars) which we may find desirable for their color or form considered superior to the wild variety, but Leslie explained that the pollinators may not agree. As an example, an Echinacea variety with petal-like flowers throughout the flower heads lacks the disk flowers which attract bees and other pollinators denying them their nectar meal.

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