Friday, September 5, 2008

Grindelia stricta
- Gumplant

What a year for gumplant, Grindelia stricta, this has been. It started blooming early August and is still going strong in September. The blossoms are large yellow daisies, easily 3” across, which make good cut flowers. They are frequented by masses of European honeybees (this is data, they’re still around as of August 2008) and many interesting though unnamed native pollinators. Butterflies love it.

I’m always surprised to see it growing around the lagoon, where it is lanky and scrawny compared to the magnificent plants that now appear in new places in our garden. Deep green leaves and stunning flowers, and we don’t help it out much, no water and no fertilizer. Seems to like wood chip mulch. Maybe it is our appreciation that makes it so healthy. Cut about four inches above the ground in late fall. Appreciate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More specificity about exactly what butterflies liking various flowers would be appreciated -- the species, or at least the number of species or types, with any characterization (i.e., blues, sulphurs, whites, painted ladies, hairstreaks, skippers, swallowtails) would be very helpful to the butterfly gardener. Butterfly plants can also be rated (I've seen both one to three and one to ten systems) as to relative attractiveness also. Some seem to be favorites, others used occasionally.

About the great copper, Shapiro (Field Guide to the Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions) says that Grindelia camporum is among its favorite nectar plants. But he also says "the great copper is ... rather picky about nectar sources" and notes, regarding its utilization of Grindelia camporum: "Remarkably, it does not seem to visit other species in the gum plant genus!"

Examining the detailed pollinator lists at the Insect Visitors of Illinois Wildflowers web site such pickiness even within a genus doesn't seem so uncommon.