What is pollination?
Pollination happens when grains of pollen from the same plant species are moved from the flower’s anther to the stigma by animals, water or wind. Once successfully pollinated, fruits and seeds are produced by the plant.
Why are pollinators important?
Many of our crops are dependent upon animal pollinators; one of every three bites of the food we eat is thanks to insects, birds, bats, and other pollinators. Pollinators are attracted to the nectar and pollen of flowers. As they eat their fill they unknowingly pick up pollen grains on their bodies and carry it to other flowers, leading to pollination, which ultimately develops into fruits we eat. Hummingbirds and butterflies are a beautiful joy to observe in our gardens, but we ought not to forget about the unsung heroes and laborers, the bees and bats, too.
Below are four pollinators and some of the plants they frequently visit:
- Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
- Fruit Trees
- Lavender Assorted (Lavandula species)
- Pink Magnolia (Magnolia species)
- White Clover, Dutch Clover (Trifolium repens)
- Bergamot, Bee Balm (Monarda hybrid)
- Cardinal Flower (Lobelia x speciosa)
- Columbine, Canada Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
- Kinnikinick, Common Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
- Red Yucca, Hummingbird Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)
- Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
Bats (fruit & nectar eating types) –
- Agave, Century Plant, American Aloe (Agave americana)
- Avocado (Persea americana)
- Common Mango, Indian Mango (Mangifera indica)
- Guava, Apple Guava (Psidium guajava)
- Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
- Nicotiana (Nicotiana)
- Red Twig Dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
- Upright Sedum (Sedum species)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
If you’re considering planting fruit trees or a small orchard, check our Pollination Charts for Fruit-bearing Trees and Shrubs to select which varieties to plant near one another.