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Cavano’s Pollination Program

The POLLINATION Program was created based on the research of Sam Droege (USGS) and Jarrod Fowler. Each of the plants in this program provide food for pollen specialist bee species of the Eastern United States.

Colletes aesthivalis – pollen specialist bee of Heuchera americana

An example is the bee pictured to the right. This is Colletes aesthivalis, a specialist bee of Heuchera americana (Coral Bells). This bee was not documented in Pennsylvania for over 100 years, until one of our employees noticed it in her garden in the spring of 2020. Without the Heuchera americana plant and flowers, this bee could disappear forever.

Many of these native specialist bees go un-noticed in our gardens, however others simply do no have the host plants they require for survival. Adding these plants to your gardens and landscapes is a great way to increase biodiversity and provide a valuable food source for our native bees.

The Pollination Program consists of the following plants:

  • Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop)
  • Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
  • Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
  • Aster cordifolius (Blue Wood Aster)
  • Aster ericoides (Heath Aster)
  • Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’ (Smooth Aster)
  • Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster)
  • Aster pilosus (Frost Aster)
  • Aster puniceus (Purplestem Aster)
  • Aster spectabilis (Showy Aster)
  • Aster umbellatus (Flat Topped Aster)
  • Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf Tickseed)
  • Coreopsis rosea (Pink Tickseed)
  • Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ (Whorled Tickseed)
  • Echinacea pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower)
  • Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master)
  • Eupatorium coelestinum (Blue Mist Flower)
  • Eupatorium dubium (Coastal Plain Joy Pye)
  • Eupatorium fistulosum (Hollow Joe Pye)
  • Eupatorium hyssopifolium (Hyssop-leaved Thoroughwort)
  • Eupatorium purpureum ssp. maculatum ‘Gateway’ (Joe Pye Weed)
  • Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ (Sunflower)
  • Heliopsis helianthoides (False Sunflower)
  • Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Sun’ (False Sunflower)
  • Heuchera americana (American Alumroot)
  • Liatris microcephala (Smallhead Blazing Star)
  • Liatris spicata (Dense Blazing Star)
  • Monarda bradburiana (Eastern Beebalm)
  • Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
  • Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
  • Oenothera fruticosa ‘Fireworks’ (Evening Primrose)
  • Parthenium integrifolium (Wild Quinine)
  • Penstemon calycosus (Calico Beardtongue)
  • Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove Beardtongue)
  • Penstemon hirsutus (Hairy Beardtongue)
  • Pycnanthemum muticum (Clustered Mountainmint)
  • Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida (Orange Coneflower)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (Black Eyed Susan)
  • Senecio obovatus (Rough-leaf Ragwort)
  • Senecio aureus (Golden Ragwort)
  • Solidago nemoralis (Gray Goldenrod)
  • Solidago rigida (Stiff Goldenrod)
  • Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower)
  • Verbena hastata (Swamp Verbena)
  • Vernonia glauca (Broadleaf Ironweed)
  • Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed)
  • Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s Root)
  • Waldsteinia fragarioides (Barren Strawberry)
Andrena asteris – pollen specialist of Aster sp.

For a complete list of specialist bee host plants, visit

More information about Sam Droege’s work can be found here