PRFCT Tips

Milkweed

On Beyond Milkweed

July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019
On Beyond Milkweed   
Now that everyone LOVES milkweed, what’s next?  Milkweed only serves one insect, the Monarch Butterfly. You can do more! How about adding some other historically “weedy” native wildflowers to your garden and expand the pollinator banquet?  How about Thistles? They provide pollen, nectar, leaves and seeds for hundreds of insect and bird species. They are beautiful and structural, and seriously deer proof! There are some invasive ones and massive eradication programs have pretty much wiped out the good with the bad, so...

Do your bit for the good ones, get to know your thistle. 

If the answer to ALL these questions is NO, you probably have a native, let it be! 
Is the thistle spiny along the entire length of the stem? 
Are the bracts (the bulbous part below the brushy flower) triangular, firm, and spine-tipped? 
Are the bracts thick, and leathery, and jagged? 
Are the roots rhizomatous (running underground and popping up all over)?
The thistle in the photo inspired this tip. Found it growing in my yard, Goldfinches love the seed. Somewhat common on LI, endangered in Ct. Keep an eye out for some of your own and welcome it to your expanding world of pollinator plants. 

Thanks to Lindsay Karr https://weedwise.conservationdistrict.org