White Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata. This is an interesting plant. It is common, occurs here and there in woodland openings, on the small side, not given to large clumps and therefore seems to be not consistently collected off of. In fact, I can’t find anything more than generic statements that they attract pollinators in the google literature. I suspect that it may be working with Augochlora pura, the consummate summer woodland bee. Its on my list to try and establish populations at the lab, will have to mark plants this fall. Would potentially be a nice selection for the semi shady suburban garden. Flower and picture by Helen Lowe Metzman.
Sweet White Violet. There is a bee that is a violet specialist. Andrena violae (an unsurprising name). When we use colored traps to catch bees, this at the right time and place can be a bee commonly captured. It, however is only captured in blue bowls (ignoring white and yellow). So here is a nice white violet (though with purple nectar guides) is it ignored by this bee, there are also yellow violets…similarly ignored? This is basic information people why are we in the dark here? Its as if no one knew that water is blue. Picture and specimen by Helen Lowe Metzman.
Medeola virginiana – What pollinates the indian cucumber root? Possibly no one has ever bothered to look. My usual sources of such info came to nothing nor did googlation. My weak logical inference string is that since it is in the lily family and since it is similar looking to native lilies and native lilies often are visited by day flying moths and butterflies that this too might get its pollen moved by a lep. AND!!!!! what is going on with those giant purple stigmata? Probably a world record of some kind. Its not there for nothing and it would be shameful if we didn’t know what their uses might be. The only member of its genus, so I think it urgent that we figure this out. Shame. Specimen and photo by Helen Lowe Metzman.
What pollinates ghost pipe, aka indian pipe? Bees of course. It took me as a surprise,but this parasitic plant (feeds on the fungi associated with trees) is in the ericaceous family, same as blueberries and kin and indeed bees, both bumblebees and “small” bees are noted, come to these flowers. Since they often bloom later in the year when most of the spring plants and bees are gone it would be interesting to learn more about its pollination strategy. Picture and specimen by Helen Lowe Metzman.
What a beautiful name, (enchanter’s nightshade)… an overlooked plant of woodlands, now I am wondering what its pollinators might be, probably diptera, but bees are mentioned in the e-literature as well. Given that they are often in the middle of the woods, bloom in the summer it is more likely that they are targeting diptera as bees are largely absent at that time of year. seems like a very reasonable species to plant as ground cover in heavy shade. Specimen and picture by Helen Lowe Metzman.
Planted widely. Formerly forming a subcanopy of white in the spring in much of the eastern forests. Then, the Dogwood Anthracnose comes and most of those interior woodland dogwood are now gone and dogwood is largely confined to edges of woodlands or plantings in the open. Specimen and photo by Helen Lowe Metzman. Click on the unfolding bloom, lovely in its details.