How Native Plant Cultivars Affect Pollinators

Annie White, Landscape Designer & Adjunct Professor, University of Vermont

October 2019

Are native cultivars as valuable in pollinator habitat gardens as the true native species? As initiatives to address pollinator decline are becoming widespread this is an important question to answer, and especially because cultivars are more readily available in the nursery trade. Annie White's groundbreaking research helps us begin to understand the answer, and in this talk she shares the results of four years of field data she gathered while completing her PhD. Perhaps not surprisingly, she found that many cultivars that have been bred for enhanced bloom, color, or other characteristics, do not necessarily have the same ecological benefits as do straight species plants. Yet, this is not universally true, and she also found evidence that at least one native cultivar selection was superior in supporting pollinators, providing more nectar over a longer bloom time. Her research is full of wonderful detail about the species she studied. This is well worth watching!

Annie White is the founder of Nectar Landscape Design Studio and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Vermont. She earned her MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her PhD research on native plant cultivars, done at the University of Vermont, broke new ground on this very important and timely subject. This was one of the first public presentations she ever gave about the results of her study.