Knapweed and Pollinators

The status of knapweeds (Centaurea spp.) as invasive species is very interesting and widely documented. However, it’s a topic that I’ve chosen to bypass in order to feature some of the many pollinators that swarm the knapweed bloom in the hot, muggy days of summer. I mow (brush hog) several sites once a year in order to arrest succession and maintain herbaceous habitat for wildlife. Grasses, goldenrods and knapweed dominate these managed openings. The knapweed bloom precedes the goldenrod bloom and appears to fill a void in the natural sources of nectar for pollinators.

A managed meadow habitat colonized by knapweed (in full bloom)
Honey Bee on knapweed (1 of 2; knapweed honey is a local product)
Virginia Ctenucha moth (a diurnal moth that appears dark gray or black in flight)
Bumble Bee
Monarch butterfly
Leafcutter bee
Tiger Swallowtail butterfly
A meadow buzzing with pollinators would be incomplete without predators like the flower spider!

Photos by NB Hunter (July). © All Rights Reserved.