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.


9 thoughts on “Knapweed and Pollinators

  1. Thanks for this great informative post! I just recently ‘discovered’ this lovely plant… it was on the bank of the Rogue River here…. a spot that had flooded last winter and this charming flower popped up in the midst of (seemingly) nothing but river rocks. I was so enchanted with this plant that I included it in a recent post (
    We also decided to try planting it on a rather steep bank behind the house to help stabilize it. It’ll be nice to see how it does there. Being beneficial to pollinators is a decided plus!

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