More Than Meets the Eye?
The Role of Annual Ornamental Plants in Supporting Pollinators
USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research
Initiative Outreach Webcast
By Emily Erickson
Department of Entomology
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
The decline in pollinator populations has been met with a rise in interest by landscapers and home gardeners to provide pollinator habitat. Many of the plants that are commercially available and used for these applications are cultivated ornamental varieties, which serve a unique function in supporting pollinator communities. This webcast summarizes the findings of a 2-year field study that describes pollinator visitation to popular varieties of annual ornamental plants and outlines basic recommendations for creating a backyard pollinator garden.
Emily Erickson is a fourth-year graduate student in the Grozinger Lab at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on how pollinators interact with ornamental plant species and how artificial selection and breeding in these plants has influenced their attractiveness or utility to pollinators. Emily is interested in urban ecology and how to design gardens and green spaces to support pollinator populations.