Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rattlesnake Master Pollinator Information

Rattlesnake master /eryngium yuccifolium is frequented by various pollinators. Wasps and flies seem particularly fond of the flowers on very hot humid days.

Though I have seen very few bees and no bumbles on the rattlesnake master in our own garden, others have recorded bumble bees at the rattlesnake master so it may be a need for specific habitat condition for bumbles to utilize eryngium yuccifolium.

Many sites, even reputable gov. an edu. sites, state that rattlesnake master is self pollinating.
While rattlesnake master is self fertile it is also xenogamous displaying temporal dioecism.

Temporal dioecism is, in essence, a flowering sequence which is synchronized so that there is little to no overlap between staminate and pistillate phases of an individual plant.

With the pollen produced by the stamen at times when the stigma is unreceptive on individual plants self pollination is rare without hand pollination or enclosure of the blossom.
Insect pollination therefore must occur to assure seed production and genetic variability with some rare self pollination as a backup.

Educational sites in particular should be more explicit.

This reminded me that I should acquire plants or seeds from more than one source since our garden is rather isolated from other native plant gardens and many insects do not travel far to find other nectar and pollen sources of the same species.

Bees are unique in the propensity of individual bees to keep going from blossom to blossom of the same species seeming to dislike changing to another species until the one they are working runs out. This is what makes them ideal for agricultural pollination.

Click on pictures to enlarge for a better look at the pollinators.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wildlife Garden In Bloom

Oakleaf Hydrangea against redtwig dogwood.
Purple Coneflower/Echinacea purpurea.

Echinacea purpurea amid little bluestem and switchgrass.

The butterflies are active today.
Lots of native bees on the job as well.
Ratibida pinnata/yellow or gray coneflower.

Ratibida pinnata with Liatris and coreopsis.

Joe-pye weed standing tall.

Another Joe-Pye that self seeded into a good spot.
Liatris tall and purple, coreopsis low and yellow.
Liatris with a backdrop of Eupatorium,chocolate and boneset.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Planted and Protected

Worried that rabbits would eat the seedlings before they could grow and establish we added a wire fence. This will be a pretty little area with a lower profile than so many of the taller species in our garden. The plants from Native Seed Gardeners are the only plants in our garden protected from herbivores.

The camera is facing north so this open area gets full sun which these prairie plants should do well with. Trying to decide what to use as a light mulch over the bare soil until seedlings grow to cover. This blog will now become a journal to record the story of gardening to harvest native prairie seed, along with the wildlife gardening.

To see this years seed crop list