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One plant, many pollinators

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

My brother’s yard which slopes down to an inlet of the ocean and has boggy areas has native plants galore. Interestingly, rattlesnake master, originally indigenous to prairie-like ecosystems in the eastern U S, flourishes in those beds but as long as it has good sun can happily grow in a variety of soils. It has tall, maybe four feet, stalks that holds flower heads, usually a handful on well-established plants. Each inflorescence has over a hundred tiny flowers providing both nectar and pollen for insects. Many people get most excited about butterflies on their pollinator plants, but Eryngium yuccafolium, flowering late summer, perhaps attracts a larger diversity of visitors than almost any other insect magnet. According to the Xerces society website --bumble bees, yellow-faced bees, sweet bees, multiple beetles and dozens of fly species.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.