Possible native and non-native pollinator attractants in Fairbanks- by Pat Holloway

For the past 30 years we have compiled a list of plants and potential plant pollinators at the GBG. This list is simply based on observation, not on counts of pollen loads of pollen germination. It is a guide to plants that appear to attract known pollinators and might be considered in wildflower meadows, guard rows, gardens and natural areas to promote a diverse population of insects. It is not complete and is an ongoing project.


Native Plants

Alder (Alnus spp.) mourning cloak butterfly early season pollen
Arnica (Arnica sp.) swallowtail butterfly, painted ladies, honey bees, beetles species differ in bloom times, one or another kind of arnica is blooming from late May through August
Beauverd Spiraea (Spiraea stevenii) mourning cloak butterfly, syrphid fly June
Birch (Betula neoalaskana) Mourning cloak butterfly early season pollen
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) syrphid flies, beetles, moths June
Chives, (Allium schoenoprasum) syrphid flies, flies, andrenid bees mid to late June through JUly
Cinquifoil (Potentilla fruticosa) flies, syrphid flies, honey bees, bumble bees all summer
Cottonwood, Populus balsamifera swallowtail, mourning cloak butterfly early season
Currants, red (Ribes triste) and black wild (Ribes hudsonianum) honey bee, solitary bees early season
Dragonhead mint (Dracocephalum parvoflorum) syrphid flies, andrenid bees mid summer
Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) honey bees, bumble bees premier honey plant in AK, premier host of hummingbird moth caterpillars
Goldenrod, Solidago multiradiata, S. decumbens bumble bees, honey bees, andrenid bees late season source
Jacob's ladder (tall, Polemonium acutiflorum, and beautiful (P. pulcherrimum) andrenid bees, honey bees, swallowtail butterfloes mid season
Kinninnick, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi bumb bee, wasps early season
Labrador tea (Ledum decumbens, L. groenlandicum) bees, beetles, syrphid flies, butterflies late May, early June
Lingonberry, lowbush cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) bumble bee, syrphid fly, honey bee, wasps not the best attractant
Lupine (Lupinus arcticus, L. nootkatensis) bumble bees mid to late season, food of clouded sulphur butterfly larvae
Milk vetch, Astragalus spp. honey bees June
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) bumble bee, honey bee, first half of summer
Redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea) honey bee mid JUne
Serviceberry, saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) honey bees, bumble bees early season nectar and pollen
Shepherd's purse, (Capsella bursa-pastoris) western white butterfly all season
Shooting star (Dodecatheon spp.) honey bees, wasps June
Siberian Aster (Aster sibiricus, Euribium) syrphid flies, solitary bees, late season
Tansy mustard (Descurainia sophioides) western white butterfly mid summer
Wild Blueberry, (Vaccinium uliginosum) bumble bee, wasp, syrphid flies, honeybees, andrenid bees early season; not very attractive to bumble and honey bees; if something else is blooming, they won't get much attention
Wild iris (Iris setosa) bumble bees, swallowtail butterfly late June bloomer
Wild Potato (Eskimo potato)( Hedysarum alpinum) bumble bees early season bloomer
Wild rose (Rosa acicularis)

beetles, honey bee, bumble bee, syrphid flies


great late June pollen source
Wild sweet pea (Hedysarum mackenzii) bumble bees, solitary bees (leafcutter) June
Willows, most members of Salix genus honey bees, mourning cloak butterflies very early source of pollen for most native and non-native bees

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, A. borealis, A. sibirica

syrphid flies, painted lady, clouded sulphur butterflies all summer

Non-native plants (avoid double blooms; they often have less pollen)

Achillea (Achillea millefolium cultivars) flies, syrphid flies, butterflies mid to late summer
Bachelor's buttons  (Centaurea cyaneus) honey bee mid to late summer
Bird (hairy, purple) vetch, Vicia cracca honey bees, bumble bees considered invasive
Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) honey bee late summer
Borage (Borago officinalis) painted lady butterflies, mid to late summer
Buckwheat, (Fagopyrum esculentum) many types of bees also attracts beneficial insects
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) honey bee great mid season bloomer
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) painted lady butterflies all season bloomer
Canola, rapeseed, Brassica rapa honey bees promotes fast crystallization of honey
Catmint (Nepeta spp) honey bee, syrphid flies, many species of annual and short lived perennials
Cherrries: All members of Prunus (Mayday tree, Prunus padus, chokecherry, P. virginiana, Russian almond, Prunus triloba, Ussurian plum, Prunus ussuriensis) honey bees, andrenid bees, wasps, andrenid solitary bees favorite of Canadian yellow swallowtail, honey and bumble bees; will attract insects away from other plants
Chives, (Allium schoenoprasum) syrphid flies, andrenid bees mid June through July
Clover (white dutch, Trifolium repens, alsike, T.hybridum, red, T.pratense , sweet clover Melilotus spp honey bees, bumble bees, painted lady butterflies sweet clover considered invasive, food of clouded sulphur butterfly larvae
Columbine, Aquilegia spp. bumble bee mid to late season
Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale) painted lady butterflies, honey bees, bumble bees mid to late summer
Coriander, (Coriandrum sativum) honey bees, syrphid flies June through August
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) honey bee, bumble bee, syrphid flies mid to late summer
Crabapples (Malus spp) all kinds honey bee, bumble bee, wasps, syrphid flies early season pollen and nectar source
Currants, Red, black and white cultivars (Ribes spp)

honey bee, wasps

early season
Delphinium, larkspur (Delphinium sp.) bumble bees, honey bees late June through Aug
Dianthus (many species of annual and biennial pinks) hawkmoths (hummingbird moths) mid to late summer
Dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavicum) syrphid flies, honey bee mid to late summer
Gaillardia, blankeflower (Gaillardia aristata) honey bee, bumble bee, butterflies mid to late summer
Gooseberry, (Ribes grossularia) honey bees, bumble bees early season
Heliotrope honey bees, syrphid flies  
Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea) bumble bees shrub edible fruits, very early season bloomer
Lambsquarter, (Chenopodium album) painted lady and western white butterfly Caterpillars mid season
Lilac (Syringa spp.) hawkmoths (hummingbird moths), swallowtail butterfly, bumble bee mid season
Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus and others)   cultivars are not as attractive as the wild species
Mint (Mentha spp) flies, wasps, andrenid bees only if allowed to bloom and not harvested for herb
Mustards, Brassica sp. honey bees, bumble bees, syrphid flies all those things that bolt in your garden such as Chinese cabbage, black mustard )
Onions, flowering such as Welsh (Allium fistulosum) and Altai onions (Allium altaicum) syrphid flies, honey bees mid summer bloomer covered with insects
Oregano, Oreganum spp.) bumble bee if allowed to bloom
Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) bumble bee, honey bee, andrenid bee often included in non-native wildflower mixes
Raspberry,( Rubus idaeus) bumble bee, honey bee, June, July
Rosemary, (Rosmarinus officinalis) honey bees, bumble bees, andrenid bees mid to late summer if at all; if you're an herb person, you often pick off the flowers
Salvia (Salvia spp.) honey bees, bumble bees many species of ornamental and edible salvias
Serviceberry, saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) both native and non-native cultivars honey bees, bumble bees early season source of nectar and pollen
Siberian Peashrub, Caragana arborescens bumble bees, honey bee considered invasive in some locations
Siberian squill (Scilla sibirica) honey bee, bumble bee interesting bright blue pollen, early season
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) honey bees, bumble bees mid to late summer
Sunflowers (Helianthus anuus, H. maximiliana) honey bees, bumble bees, Sweat, Andrenid bees, painted lady butterflies not the pollen-less cultivars or ones with double petals
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritiama) syrphid flies, sweat bees blooms all summer
Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) bumble bees, honey bees early season nectar
Veronica (Veronica spp.) honey bees, syrphid flies mid to late summer
Viiper's bugloss ,(Echium vulgare) honey bee, syrphid fly often in non-native wildflower mixes
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Georgeson Botanical Garden, PO Box 757200, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 (907) 474-1944, gbgardensuaf@gmail.com