Grasses & Sedges Host Butterflies, Too.

Did you know? Before butterflies emerge from their cocoons and rely on nectar, caterpillars need host plants to provide food and cover. It’s a complex life cycle from egg to maturity, with different habitats needed for each stage of development. When one of the parts is missing, such as lack of host plants, butterflies suffer. In turn, we lose beneficial pollinators, and beautiful creatures.

More Reasons to Love Grasses and Sedges

Pennsylvania Sedge
Carex pensylvancia can host 36 species of caterpillars. And it is a favorite native ground cover.

Hoffman Nursery pollinator border
Little Bluestem and Indian Grass planted alongside other pollen and nectar producers create a lush buffet for butterflies and assorted pollinators.

Bushy Bluestem and Switchgrass bring many nooks and crannies to host butterflies.
Bushy Bluestem and Switchgrass have many nooks and crannies to host and protect butterflies.

Pink Muhly, River Oats, Prairie Dropseed and other grasses and sedges create opportunities for travelling butterflies and other pollinators in the Hoffman Nursery buffer zone.
Pink Muhly Grass, River Oats, Prairie Dropseed and a number of grasses and sedges create habitat for travelling butterflies and other pollinators, as shown here in a Hoffman Nursery buffer zone.

Common Rush adds a linear quality and also helps out our butterfly friends. Sarah P. Duke Garden Discovery Garden.
Native rush, Juncus effusus (background), helps our butterfly friends and adds a linear quality to the Discovery Garden at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina.

Pollinator News

Eupatorium, grasses, butterfly at Hoffman Nursery.
The USDA and many organizations are placing a great emphasis on supporting pollinators.

During National Pollinator Week (June 15-21, 2015), more than 14 USDA agencies, federal departments, and partners hosted the 6th Annual Pollinator Festival in Washington, D.C. In other news, The National Pollinator Network organized the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a campaign to register a million public and private gardens and landscapes to support pollinators. And, the Xerces Society sponsors a Pollinator Conservation Resource Center to help folks with local information, fact sheets, insect identification and more.

More Pollinator Helpers

Sorghastrum nutans in meadow at Hoffman Nursery is one of the native grasses identified as a pollen or nectar producer for butterflies.
This Hoffman Nursery meadow includes Sorghastrum nutans, a native grass identified as a pollen or nectar producer for butterflies.

We have found The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, by Rick Darke and Douglas Tallamy, extremely useful in identifying grasses and sedges that play a role in the lifespan of pollinators. The authors include comprehensive listings for different areas of the U.S., and highlight some of our favorite native grasses and sedges:

Andropogon gerardii • Andropogon glomeratus • Andropogon ternarius • Andropogon virginicus • Bouteloua curtipendula • Bouteloua gracillis • Carex laxiculmis • Carex muskingumensis • Carex pensylvanica • Carex plantaginea • Carex stricta • Carex vulpinoidea • Chasmanthium latifolium • Deschampsia cespitosa • Eragrostis spectabilis • Juncus effusus • Muhlenbergia capillaris • Nassella tenuissima • Panium virgatum • Schizachyrium scoparium • Scirpus cyperinus • Sorghastrum nutans • Spartina pectinata • Sporobolus heterolepis • Sporobolus wrightii

We’re proud grasses and sedges play a role in hosting our beneficial insect friends.

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