In Defense of Nativars: Comparing the Conservation Value of Native Milkweed Cultivars and Straight Species for Monarch Butterflies, Bees, and Other Pollinators in Small Gardens

  • Potter, Daniel (PI)

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Populations of bees and monarch butterflies are declining. The public has rallied to help their plight by establishing millions of gardens with flowering plants that provide critical resources for pollinators. Enthusiasm for pollinator and wildlife gardening has ignited new interest in American native plants as consumers become more aware that their gardens and landscapes can play a role in supporting biodiversity by providing seeds, fruits, and insects that in turn serve as food for birds and other desirable urban wildlife. That consumer demand is fueling a major trend in plant marketing – promotion and use of native plants in the landscape, garden, design, and retail trades. Straight native species, however, aren''t the only options on the table; native plant cultivars, often referred to as ''nativars'', are gaining attention, too. Such plants, natural variants of native species that are selected and vegetatively propagated for desirable attributes such as plant stature, flower or leaf color, or bloom period, open the door to vast ornamental potential and new introductions that provide breeders, growers, marketers, and consumers the best attributes of natives and ornamentals combined.
Effective start/end date3/1/2012/31/20


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