Host Plant Index!

This time of year, when snow is on the ground, seed catalogs begin arriving in mailboxes. 

I have always loved Michael Perry’s great line from Truck:

“Seed catalogs are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than Enron and Playboy combined.”

Before you do any ordering, why not check out this Lepidopteran Ornamental Host Plant Guide!

“Landscaping paradigms have promoted the use of alien ornamentals over native plants with ornamental value for over a century. The bias toward landscaping with alien ornamentals has been so complete that the first trophic level in suburban/urban ecosystems throughout U.S. is now dominated by plant species that evolved elsewhere….

The following list is our attempt to categorize native and alien plant genera in terms of their ability to support insect herbivores…. We did this by ranking all native plant genera (woody and herbaceous) in terms of the number of Lepidoptera species recorded using them as host plants. Our hope is that this ranking will be used as one of the criteria for plant selections in managed and unmanaged landscapes by restoration ecologists, landscape architects and designers, land managers, and homeowners.”

The index is the work of Doug Tallamy, at the University of Delaware.  You can read a profile of him and his work in the NY Times.

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