Plants for Butterflies and Other Pollinators

Showing 217–220 of 220 results

  • Veronica spicata Speedwell Z 4-8

    Blue spikes with a hint of lilac



    Blue spikes with a hint of lilac, bloom from June through October, if deadheaded

    Size: 24" x 18-24"
    Care: Sun in moist well-drained to well-drained soil
    Native: Hilly pastures in Europe and North Asia
    Wildlife Value: attracts butterflies

    According to Christian tradition, as Jesus carried the cross to Calvary a woman wiped his face with her handkerchief, leaving the imprint of Christ’s features, the vera iconica, meaning “the true likeness.”  When the Catholic Church canonized the woman, the Church gave her the name Saint Veronica.  Medieval gardeners named the plant after her due to a perceived likeness of the flower to her handkerchief.  Veronicas have been in cultivation since at least Medieval times.  Europeans made tea from V. spicata. In 1693 a symmetrical garden at Versailles used speedwell.  V. spicata is a parent to many hybrid cultivars.

  • Veronicastrum virginianum, Culver’s root Z 4-9

    Tall, graceful ivory spires



    Tall, graceful ivory spires bloom from mid to late summer

    Size: 4' x 18"
    Care: full sun to part shade in moist to moist well-drained soil
    Native: From Canada to Texas incl. Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: attracts butterflies

    Used by American Indians as a laxative and to induce vomiting and clean blood.  Cherokee cured typhus and inactive livers with Culver’s root. Remember Culver’s Little Liver pills? Seneca Indians used the root in their ceremonies. 1st collected by Rev. John Banister who moved to colonial Virginia in 1678.  A gunman mistakenly shot and killed him while he collected plants.   Colonial Puritan Cotton Mather unsuccessfully attempted to use this plant to cure his daughter’s tuberculosis in 1716.

  • Viola tricolor Johnny jump up, Heartease Z 2-9 RESEEDING short-lived perennial

    Cheery purple, yellow and white small pansies from spring to late fall



    Cheery purple, yellow and white small pansies from spring to late fall

    Size: 3-5” x 4-6”
    Care: Sun to part shade in moist well-drained soil
    Native: Europe and Asia
    Wildlife Value: Violas are the sole food source for the caterpillar of Fritillary butterflies.

    Viola was named after a mythical young woman who Zeus loved and who Zeus’ wife harassed.  Athens adopted the V. tricolor as its symbol.  Pliny prescribed it for headaches in ancient Rome.  Mentioned repeatedly by Shakespeare.  In the 1500’s the plant was used to make a medicinal tea to cure chest and lung inflammations, (Gerard) and later to cure impetigo and ulcers.  When Napoleon Bonaparte died Viola tricolor found in his locket with a snip of Josephine’s hair.  Thomas Jefferson imported Viola tricolor from France in 1767.  Pressed specimen in Emily Dickinson’s herbarium.

  • Zizia aurea Golden alexanders Z 4-9

    In spring, golden umbels



    Tiny chartreuse-golden flowers, grouped in umbels, spring.  Good cut flower.

    Size: 30"x 24"
    Care: full sun in moist to moist well-drained soil
    Native: from New Brunswick south to Florida - west to Texas, Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: Primary host for the Missouri Woodland Swallowtail butterfly.

    Meskwaki used the root to reduce fevers and the flower stalks to ease headaches.  Collected by late 1700’s.  Good cut flower.