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Hostas have ribbed leaves borne in a cluster at the base of the plant; the leaves are generally large but range in size from 1.2 to 45 cm (0.5 to 18 inches) long and 1.2 to 30 cm (0.5 to 12 inches) wide. The tubular white or bluish-purple flowers are borne in clusters at the tip of stalks that emerge from the leaves. Bloom time varies from late spring to early fall depending on the species. The fruit is a long capsule.
This is my FAVORITE! Why do you think this might be the favorite plant for someone who loves butterflies?
1. Why is it called Milkweed? Milkweed gets its name from the sticky-milky white juice that comes out of the stems if you were to break them. There are about 120 species of milkweed and a majority of them are US natives. Most milkweed species have some level of toxicity and some can affect vertebrate heart rates such as in birds and mammals. What advantage do you think monarch butterflies have because their caterpillars can eat milkweed leaves?
2. Why does milkweed grow flowers? Flowers are vital in plant reproduction. Flowers attract pollinators to have them move pollen from one flower to another, thus pollinating them. Some flowers have adapted to be pollinated by specific pollinators and others are more general and allow an assortment of pollinators to pollinate them. Flowers also offer a reward for pollinators in the form of nectar. What are some shapes of flowers in your pollinator garden? Can you find any that would be suited for pollinators with long tongues?
Why doesn’t it have a lot of flowers? It may not look like a lot of flowers but the blooms that this plantain lily puts out attract its fair share of pollinators that get the job done. The deep white flowers with the purple center attract butterflies that see purple very well and hummingbirds that can see purple well from a distance. What do hummingbirds and butterflies have in common that make it easy for them to feed from these flowers?
Do you think those long tube-like flowers make it harder or easier for bees to go inside and pollinate them?
1. What kind of insects lay their eggs on the plant? Tomato fruit works will lay eggs and their caterpillar bright green with white stripes. The fruitworm caterpillar will feed on the leaves of the tomato plant.
2. Do flying bugs visit tomato plants every day? There are insects that are laying their eggs or feeding on the pollen, resting on the leaves, or hunting for prey. If the sun is out and the weather is nice, you can see some insects visiting a tomato plant.
3. What are some pests of tomato plants? Fruitworm larva, potato aphids, green and brown stink bugs, leaf-footed bug nymphs. Do see yellow tiny bugs on your tomato plants? A LOT OF THEM? Those are probably aphids. Do you know what eats aphids? LADYBUGS and green lacewings. What color do you think green lacewings are? What color are ladybugs?
What do you think will work more quickly? a big wind blowing the pollen in or a bumblebee squeezing itself in and pollinating the plant? What if the flower smelled really good to the native bee and she brought her friends? Would that be better than counting on the wind? What do pepper plant flowers smell like to you?
Pollination can happen quickly if everything happens all at once or it can take several times for the wind to blow hard enough to shake that pollen from the stamen to the pistils. If a big fat bumblebee or a tiny native bee dives right in there, it can happen almost immediately.
The petals are white because the bell pepper plant does not need to be as showy as some other plants to attract pollinators. The bell pepper plants are "self-fertilized" meaning they are able to get the pollen from the stamen through the shape of their cone-shaped flowers and with a little wind, they are fertilized. It does help, though if a bumblebee comes along and sticks her whole head in there!
1. Why do their leaves feel wrinkly? Those wrinkles are the plant’s veins. Those veins provide structure and support to the leaves while they also transport water, nutrients, and sugar to and from the leaves to the rest of the plant. When plants absorb water through their roots, they use these veins to move the water and nutrients to the rest of the plant, just like our veins and arteries.