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A perennial with large glossy leaves and flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer.


They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil.


Peonies should attract ants, bees, wasps, and flies. So far, I have seen wasps (Photo No. 1), little bees (Photo No. 2), and an unidentified bug (Photo No. 3). I wonder if wasps or the unidentified bug are pollinators? I will have to do more research.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Wood gnat (Picture 3)
Sylvicola alternatus Sylvicola alternatus photo - Tom Murray photos at

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Mr. Schaen
Mr. Schaen 3 months ago

It will be interesting to observe the peony throughout the summer to see if any new types of animals are attracted to it. Besides insects, I would like to know if animals like bunnies or deer eat it.
P.S. Thank you to the person who helped identify the wood gnat in my pictures!

Christina H
Christina H 4 months ago

I think your conclusion makes sense based on your evidence you collected. Pollinators need food like nectar throughout the year, so something that blooms for such a short time might not be as helpful.

Still, do you think the peony can play a different role in the ecosystem? You did observe a good variety of insects on it. Do you think the peony offers food or shelter to other animals? How could you test this?

Mr. Schaen
Mr. Schaen 4 months ago

I have now observed the peony with the flowers in bloom for the past 3 days. I have observed wasps, hover flies, house flies, and ants. While some of these insects are pollinators, they are not the type of pollinators that bring much beauty to a garden, such as butterflies and bumblebees. Also, while the flowers are very pretty to look at, they are only in bloom for a short period of time and when they get too heavy, they drag the plant to the ground. Based on my observations, I do not recommend the peony for the Zoo's Plant for Pollinators Challenge.

Mr. Schaen
Mr. Schaen 4 months ago

I am looking forward to revisiting the plant when the weather gets warmer and the flowers bloom. I expect to then see more pollinators, and hopefully butterflies!

cnakajima 4 months ago

That third bug does seem pretty hard to identify! Do you think if you went back to this same plant later in the spring or summer, you would see more or fewer pollinators? Do you think you could revisit this plant in early June and observe what you see?

Mr. Schaen
Mr. Schaen 4 months ago

Very cool... I've learned it's actually a hover fly! I've also learned they are beneficial in that they are pollinators and they eat aphids.

shasta.bray 4 months ago

Great photos! You mention that the second photo is of a little bee. What makes you think it is a bee? If you do a bit of research, you may be surprised to find out what it really is.

Mr. Schaen
Mr. Schaen 4 months ago

Thank you for the compliment about my wasp picture... it was scary getting close to it to take the picture, but it worked out! (NOTE TO MY 1ST GRADE STUDENTS: BE SAFE WHEN YOU GET NEAR INSECTS, ESPECIALLY ONES THAT STING. YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ADULT WITH YOU TO HELP.) From my observations so far, the wasps seem most attracted to the peony; I have not seen them on the other plants that are nearby. From my research, I have learned that wasps are pollinators, although maybe not as good as bees because the pollen does not stick as much to their bodies. I have seen a few ants. From my research, I've learned that ants may not be good pollinators, but they do protect the peony by driving away other insects that may want to eat the peony. I'm looking forward to doing more observations, seeing some pollen (which I have not seen yet), and hopefully getting some other good pictures of pollinators!

kyle.stocksdale 4 months ago

That picture of a wasp is incredible. You pose a really good question regarding whether wasps are pollinators. Do you notice wasps on other flowers, bushes, or plants nearby too? Have you noticed ants coming to the flower yet? Are ants pollinators? Do you see pollen?

Mr. Schaen
Spotted by
Mr. Schaen

Wyoming, Ohio, USA

Spotted on May 6, 2020
Submitted on May 6, 2020

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