Biodiversity and Ecological Value

At least half of my time tending the pollinator meadow is spent removing invasive evergreen seedlings: monkey grass (liriope), Japanese privet, wintercreeper, English ivy.

These plants might not feed most insects and other animals, but birds love the seeds and poop them all over creation.

The problem is that these plants displace native species that feed a higher number of species, including caterpillars and other insect larva.

20220609-kankakee-mallow
20220609-kankakee-mallow. The Kankakee Mallow (Iliamna remota) is an endangered plant previously limited to a single county in Illinois. There is also Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus coccineus) in the bottom right quarter of this photo. Both are perennials.

A plant doesn’t have to be rare or endangered to be ecologically valuable.

20190825-wildflowers
20190825-wildflowers. Sulfur Cosmos might be common, but they feed pollinator insects, both adults and larvae.
20220609-swamp-rose-mallow
20220609-swamp-rose-mallow. The Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus coccineus) is a perennial member of the hibiscus family.
20201022-swamp-sunflowers-v2
20201022-swamp-sunflowers-v2. Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius L.) are a perennial sunflower that blooms late summer/early fall, which makes it a great compliment for the early-blooming annuals.
20200717-shield-bug-nymphs
20200717-shield-bug-nymphs. Shield Bug Nymphs on a small variety of pumpkin.
20200915-grasshoppers
20200915-grasshoppers. Obscure Bird Grasshoppers (Schistocerca obscura) preparing to mate.
20210726-caterpillar
20210726-caterpillar