In late summer and early fall meadows come alive with wildflowers and insects. From the graceful pink Joe Pye Weed that blooms in mid-August to New England Aster, one of the last spectacles of the year, there is so much to see and enjoy in the fields near your home—maybe even right in your own backyard.
Let is introduce you to the flowers and insects of late summer, and the fascinating interactions between them, from pollination to the nurturing of young to predation. We’ll also give you tips for making your own yard a more pollinator-friendly place. Mills Riverside Park in Jericho, a site rich with wildflowers, will be a featured locality.
In this webinar (which originally ran on September 10, 2020) Liz Thompson, Director of Conservation Science for the Vermont Land Trust, and Kent McFarland, Conservation Biologist with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, take viewers on a tour of a meadow in Jericho, Vermont. They focus in on the aster family and many pollinator species. After their presentation, viewers asked questions for 45 minutes (!) — we’ve left that in the video.
Meadow Flower ID
We hope these photos help you identify more flowers on your next meadow walk!
Blue vervain is a common native wildflower in wet meadows and open wetlands. It is one of 38 pollinator-friendly native plants listed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and it is known to host at least 11 species of butterflies in their caterpillar stages.
Common milkweed is well known, along with other native milkweeds, as a critical host for monarch butterfly caterpillars. The flowers have a wonderful fragrance.
The white form of the flower is unusual but still loved by insects!
Joe-pye weed, a member of the aster family, is in bud now and will be in full flower soon, spreading its pink glory across wet meadows all over Vermont. This plant is a preferred nectar source for great spangled fritillary, a common butterfly in Vermont.
We’ve been watching ferns unfurl and produce spores since early spring. Here is royal fern with its brown fertile leaflets, shedding spores to produce new plants.
Spreading dogbane is abundant in upland meadows throughout Vermont. Its fragrant pink flowers are often seen buzzing with visiting bees. Here a red admiral butterfly is perched on the flowers.