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UConn Study on Pollinator Activity
Cultivars Verses Native Plants

UConn Study on Pollinator Activity

To settle the debate of whether or not cultivated plants attract pollinating insects more or less frequently than native plants, two researchers from the University of Connecticut, Dr. Jessica Lubell-Brand and Jacob Ricker, have been conducting research on pollinator activity for five native plant species and their cultivar counterparts.

Their method for the study consisted of evaluating insect pollinator visitation to two sets of five flowering species (natives and cultivars) and comparing the two. The plants were situated in a sunny field located behind the UConn Floriculture Greenhouse Facility and placed in a random block design.

During the bloom period for each plant, insect visitation was measured on ten different occasions using visual observation, with each observation period lasting 5 minutes.

Their research is still ongoing at the time of this publication, however results after the initial year of examinations have been shared. A break down of what the researchers have found so far is as follows:

• There was no significant difference in insect visitation between A. melanocarpa and its cultivars and C. alnifolia and its cultivars.

• 80% of insect pollinators visiting Clethraspecies were bumblebees.

• Overall, D. fruticosa and its cultivar 'Goldfinger,' both of which have yellow flowers, attracted more insects than D. fruticosa 'Pink Beauty,' which has pink flowers.

• H. arborescens and P. opulifolius attracted more total insect pollinators than their respective cultivars.

• H. arborescens attracted four times as many bumblebees, two times as many other bees and two-and-a-half times as many wasps than did its cultivar, 'Annabelle.'

• P. opulifolius attracted more honeybees and mining bees than its cultivar 'Monlo,' but 'Monlo' attracted more hoverflies than the native species.



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September 20, 2018, 12:17 pm PDT

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