Last week, June 22-28, 2020 was national Pollinator Week and we pitched in with a mega long virtual presentation Celebrate Pollinators! designed to delight and entice by providing a look at several of our spectacular pollinators.
We took a world view on some endangered pollinators that provide foods and flavors we love, vanilla and chocolate to name a few. And we also brought it home to our own imperiled butterflies of South Florida and the endangered Miami Blue and mangos!
And most important, we shared resources, links to information so everyone has the information they need to create an environment to support pollinators, protect them and bring them into our yards, parks and public spaces.
One of the outstanding resources we have available in South Florida is the Institute for Regional Conservation or IRC. We advised everyone to Think Globally, Act Locally and choose resources that reference our local native plants, conditions, and pollinators. This is a website for native plant communities that provides this critical information in a huge way. The IRC website can be used by homeowners to learn what plants are native to their area by using their zip code. Below is a navigation guide to this feature. From the home page select “Online Resources” than select “Natives for Your Neighborhood” in the drop down menu.
I used my home zip code for the Redland area in Miami Dade County, this also works for our Extension Office in Homestead however we can find additional information on native plants to use in the landscape at the Extension Office by using the zip code 33030.
We can also learn more about the habitats and wildlife for this area. Clicking on “Wildlife” for my zip code pulls up a list of butterflies that can be found in my area and I am delighted to note I have all except the variegated fritillary and the viceroy butterflies in my home garden. I do have the larval host plants for the variegated fritillary so hopefully it will soon come as well.
Butterfly data on IRC website is yet another source of information on South Florida Butterflies and if you, like myself, are planning on planting more for butterflies I recommend you read thru all available resources.
Let’s go back to the plant list for 33031. Decide if you would like to sort by common or scientific name (always use scientific names when you are shopping for plants) your list will be sorted by plant form and will begin with trees, a great place to start! BTW many native trees are also larval host for butterflies!
Once you have the list you can click on each plant for additional information. I chose one of my favorites, Coastal Plain Willow/Salix caroliniana to showcase. Coastal Plain Willow is the only native larval host for the Viceroy Butterfly and is very fragrant when in flower. I can see from the information this tree needs a “wet” location in the garden, I may not be able to create the environment it will need to grow. I need to pass on this one and choose a tree better suited for the suite conditions in my home garden to add this rainy season.
And remember those other resources I recommended reading. Take a look at the information on the Viceroy Butterfly and you will see IRC also shared links to these resources. “For more information, visit the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies website, the University of Florida/IFAS Featured Creatures website, Butterflies and Moths of North America and Butterflies of Cuba. “
Next, where do you find the native plants pollinators, butterflies, wildlife so critically need?
There is more information available of course but following the principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping and using these two great resources for information on native plants will help start you on your journey creating your own personal oasis full of life to enjoy.
Happy Gardening to All,
As always send us an email if you have any questions or would like a list of additional web links for resources and information.
Barbara McAdam, Urban Hort. Program Specialist
UF/IFAS Extension Miami Dade County Parks Recreation & Open Spaces
18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL. 33030