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          Bloom, Set, Match

          by | Sep 28, 2020 | Native Plants

          There are plenty of unfussy pollinators that will sip nectar or scoop pollen from any plant they can find. But there are also some flower traits that generally appeal to particular types of pollinators (grouped together, they’re often called “pollinator syndromes”). Flower shape, fragrance, color and bloom time are all important in attracting the right pollinator and aiding in successful plant reproduction. Here are some common floral traits associated with certain types of pollinators.

          ILLUSTRATIONS Samantha N. Peters


          Red and orange blooms
          Funnel- or trumpet-shaped flowers

          Illustration of hummingbird next to a Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) flower

          Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) flower


          Putrid smells
          Challenging, complex flowers in dark brown, red or purple

          Illustration of fly next to a Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) flower

          Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)


          Often purple and red blooms
          Faint-but-fresh scents
          A broad place to land

          Illustration of butterfly next to a Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) flower

          Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) flower


          Bright, highly visible flowers in white, yellow or blue
          Ultraviolet patterns on petals

          Illustration of bee next to Mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea) in bloom

          Mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea)


          Pale flowers in white, yellow and pink tones
          Sweet scents
          Night blooms

          Illustration of Datura (Datura wrightii) in bloom and a moth

          Datura (Datura wrightii)


          Bowl-shaped flowers in white or green
          Sweet, fruity, often pungent fragrances

          Illustration of Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) in bloom and a beetle

          Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)


          White and greenish flowers
          Strong and musty night smells

          Illustration of Organpipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) in bloom and a bat

          Organpipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi)

          To demonstrate these features, Center horticulturists planted a new Theme Garden; learn more about supporting native bees here.