Selecting plants for pollinators
Our pollinators are talented! But, who are they? They are bees, bumblebees, wasps, hornets, ants, beetles, butterflies and diptera! All these populations of pollinating insects contribute to the production of oxygen by plants.
In flowers, the movement of male reproductive organs (stamen) toward female organs (pistil) allows plants to fertilize each other to reproduce. This is called pollination.
Insects that belong to the Hymenoptera order, such as bees, are the most important pollinators. They maintain a rich and dynamic biodiversity and allow for food-producing crops. Pesticides, urban pollution, habitat loss, declining numbers of flowering plants and climate change are causing these populations to decline.
Therefore, it is essential to provide vegetation that favours pollinators. In this context, the City’s horticulture and arboriculture team chooses the most suitable plants based on their role in the ecosystem to ensure diversity throughout the territory. For example, the educational bee garden at the Viburnum entrance to the Terra-Cotta Natural Park includes a variety of bee plants so that the bees whose hives are on the roof of the library can feed there. While foraging from flower to flower, pollen sticks to their bodies and is deposited on other flowers, which will subsequently form fruits and seeds.
You can participate in pollination by creating a home garden whose plant and flower diversity favours the presence of pollen. Did you know that insects cannot distinguish the colour red? Opt for yellow, purple, white or blue flowers to give your garden some colour. Here is a list of plants that attract pollinators:
- fennel agastache
- New England aster
- large-leaved aster
- swamp milkweed
- wild bergamot
- hairy beard-tongue
- grey goldenrod
- hoary vervain
- black-eyed susan
In Québec, pollinating insects have adapted to the presence of many native plant species due to their joint evolution over several million years. They are also attracted to the following plants: borage, sweet clover, phacelia, dandelion and clover.
Together, let’s take up environmental challenges while making the city more colourful and healthier for both our insects and ourselves.