Nectar, the tasty treat hidden inside a flower, feeds many small mammals, birds and insects. Most importantly, it attracts pollinators. Pollinators are the creatures that help plants produce the fruit and seeds that are needed to create more plants.
The reproductive parts of a plant are often conveniently located near the nectar. When a bumble bee visits a flower for nectar, it also picks up pollen from the male part of the flower. Fertilization occurs when it transfers this pollen to the female parts of the same or different flower. Once a flower is fertilized, it can produce seeds.
Pollinators come in different shapes and sizes, reflecting the diversity of the flowers that attract them. The most common pollinators include native bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. But some moths, beetles, bats, wasps, and flies also pollinate.
Attract your favourite pollinator to your yard by planting these top flowering plants:
This Cardinal flower’s long tube-like stalk lets hummingbirds hover and extract nectar using their long tongues. The bright red colour attracts these high-energy birds.
Did you know butterflies taste with their feet? The hundreds of disk florets on black-eyed Susan blooms create a butterfly buffet. The large, flat blossoms also provide a place to rest while feeding.
Not all bees can reach the nectar found in this cone-shaped flower. But small species or those with long tongues can easily take a sip. Multiple blooms on each plant invite many to dine at once.