It’s full summer now and the meadows are alive with wildflowers and the insects that love to visit them. At Mobbs Farm in Jericho recently, several native meadow plants were in flower. All of these attract native insects—butterflies, bees, wasps, flies—which pollinate the flowers and feed on nectar and pollen.
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.