In school when you studied biology and ecological systems you probably learned about “succession”. A forest fire started by lightning in a dry year ignites the forest and burns it completely down. The area is bare; nothing living seems to have been left. But seeds that need heat to geminate, seeds that may have lain in the soil for decades, begin to grow. Seeds float in from unburned areas. Animals cross the burned area carrying seeds and parasites in their fur. Soon grassland develops, then as the nature narrative goes, brush and small trees take hold, more species of animals move in, then large trees and plants that flourish as undergrowth grow and mature and finally, viola! the “climax” level is reached and the ecology hums along forever, all species in harmony, until the next big disaster. (Succession teaching also uses the lake turning into a meadow scenario.)
|Bees love dandelions.|
So this article is going to list some plants that are quite helpful and friendly to bees, butterflies, song birds and other wildlife. If you want more of these critters on your property and you want to help maintain pollinator populations you may want to grow them. Many of these plants may be on various plant terrorist “watch lists” and you may not be able to purchase them. But if you have them already don’t let someone scare you into removing them if you like wildlife and want to help pollinators. The dirty little secret is that few places actually have laws in place that can make you remove them or punish you for having them.
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)
|top photo from 40SouthNews, bottom source unknown|