Butterflies pollinate large areas of plantscapes at one time. They habitually travel farther & pollinate more area than the more aggressive pollinators like bees do. Unlike their larvae, adult butterflies do not eat solid foods.
They sip sweet, nutrient rich nectar through their long tongues but they need to drink water too. Butterflies drink from mud puddles. Mud Puddling is very important. It is rich in nutrients and salts that butterflies need.
These easy going pollinators have large, long-legged bodies that do not allow them to fit inside flowers and take up as much pollen as other smaller more aggressive pollinators do. Despite their size disadvantage; their weightless bodies do allow them to land on more delicate flowers than the heavier weighted pollinators can land on.
Butterflies pollinate while sipping nectar. They unintentionally rub against the flower’s anther picking up pollen on their body and then traveling from flower to flower to sip more nectar, rub & distribute more pollen.
Different species favor different flowers. Large flat – shaped flowers and large bunches of small flowers are easy for butterflies to stand on. Some of their favorite flowers are:
Anise, Hyssop, Butterfly Bush, Columbine, Dianthus, Golden Rod, New England Aster, Marigolds, Milkweed,Petunias, Verbena, Yarrow, to name a few.
Hybrids, even organic hybrids, do not always produce nectar or pollen. Pollinators will still try eating from hybrids leaving them without proper nutrition.
Just think of how many well-intended growers work with hybrids across the globe & how many pollinators have no choice but to rely on them.
Hybrids do not always produce reliable, sustainable, next generation seeds but if they do produce next generation seeds most of the time crops grown from these seeds are deformed, stunted & unreliable making them unsustainable for the grower.
Butterfly – Beneficial – Sustainable – Pollinator
Urban Farming? Got Butterflies?