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13 Examples of Insect Pollinated Flowers

When we think about flowers, it’s almost instinctive for us to picture them in a garden that’s visited by a wide variety of different kinds of insects. This is due to the fact that there are several examples of insect pollinated flowers, and throughout time, these flowers have developed a wide variety of clever tactics to draw in and include these winged partners in the pollination process.

From large sunflowers to wild geraniums, this article looks at some of the flowers pollinated by insects and how they attract these species. 

13 Examples of insect pollinated flowers

1. Sneezeweed

Common sneezeweed
Common sneezeweed | image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr

Scientific name: Helenium autumnale

Sneezeweed is a plant that produces yellow flowers that resemble daisies. It’s one of the lovely flowers that you might observe being pollinated by a large number of insects.

They gained their name from the historical practice of using the dried leaves of the plant for making snuff, which was thought to ward off bad spirits.

Despite this misconception, the plant doesn’t cause people to sneeze or experience allergic reactions. Pollinators like bees and butterflies are drawn to this plant’s single or clustered flowers.

2. Peony

Peony flower
Peony flower | Image by Nicky ❤️🌿🐞🌿❤️ from Pixabay

Scientific name: Paeonia lactiflora

The Peonies are one of the most well-known kinds of flowers that have numerous varieties. The flowers often bloom in late spring, drawing butterflies to the areas where they’re found. You can find them thriving on dry open stony slopes, riverbanks, and sparse woodland border areas.

The petals can be white, pink, or red, depending on the type. When peonies open, they make fragrant flowers that look like cups or bowls. 

3. Sunflower

Common sunflowers
Common sunflowers | image by San Bernardino Nat’l Forest via Flickr

Scientific name: Helianthus annuus

Sunflowers are one of the most well-known flowers in the world, and they’re known for their ability to attract a large number of insects. These flowers thrive in disturbed places, along roadsides, and on low, moist ground.

Each sunflower head has both yellow ray florets and reddish-to-purplish disk florets, and the plant itself can reach heights of up to three meters. You can eat the seeds that emerge from the inner disk blossoms, and you can make use of practically every part of this flower. 

4. Dahlia

Dahlia flower with bumblebee
Dahlia flower with bumblebee | image by Diego Delso via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific name: Dahlia hortensis

The dahlia is a type of flower that’s native to Mexico and Central America. You can typically find dahlias growing in mountain ranges with elevation from 1,500 meters to 3,700 meters. It produces flower heads that are formed of multiple florets that appear to be the petals of the flower.

These flower heads also come in a variety of various types, with some having a single ring of florets and others having double blooms. They lure insects like bees and butterflies as well as birds like hummingbirds with their sweet scent. 

5. Sea holly

Sea holly flowers
Sea holly flowers | image by Jean-Michel Moullec via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Eryngium maritimum

The sea holly blossom has a distinct appearance and blooms from June all the way through September. It can have bluish-white flowers and spiky bracts, although the flowers themselves are only about an inch across at most.

It’s possible to find them growing on well-drained substrates such as sand dunes and shingles, but they’re only found in areas that experience mild winters. It’s believed that this plant contains high antioxidant levels, so sea holly is used to treat a variety of ailments. 

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6. California poppy

California poppy flower
California poppy flower | image by tdlucas5000 via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Eschscholzia californica

If you reside in California, you’re certainly familiar with the California poppy, the state flower that’s native to the United States and Mexico. Its blossoms come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, pink, and white.

You might notice that they’re open in the morning but close when the sun goes down because of the cold temperature. Sweat bees, mining bees, and European honey bees are some of the most common pollinators of this type of poppy, and they’re also the pollinators that are responsible for the spread of the species throughout the state. 

7. Blue iris

Blue iris flowers
Blue iris flowers | image by Gregozphotos via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Iris spuria

The blossoms of the blue iris range in color from a magnificent dark blue to a deep purple, and they can even occasionally be white. This creeping plant blooms between the months of May and July, and you can typically find it growing in man-made habitats such as marshes, meadows, fields, and along the margins of rivers or lakes. It’s also one of the tallest iris, reaching heights of up to 6 feet, and is a frequent magnet for many different kinds of insects, most notably butterflies.

8. Carnation

Carnation flower
Carnation flower | image by 阿橋 HQ via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Dianthus caryophyllus

The carnation is an attractive flower that often catches the attention of moths and butterflies, and it can also reach an impressive height of 31 inches. They’re commonly used in gardening because of their beautiful blossoms and these plants flourish in habitats with well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil, and require full sun.

In addition to their decorative appeal, these plants have been used for their medicinal properties, particularly for treating upset stomachs and fever. Also, their delightful fragrance has a rich history of being incorporated into various culinary projects, including vinegar, beer, wine, sauces, and salads.    

9. Gardenia

Gardenia flower
Gardenia flower | image by George E. Koronaios via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Gardenia jasminoides

The Gardenias, which are plants that produce creamy-white flowers, is another type of flower that draws insects to its blossoms. As they bloom in the spring and summer months, they’re mostly dependent on moths for the pollination of their flowers. Since moths are typically nocturnal, these flowers take advantage of the shade of their petals to reflect as much evening light as possible in order to attract moths for pollination.  

10. Wild geranium

Wild geranium flowers
Wild geranium flowers

Scientific name: Geranium maculatum

The flowers of the self-seeding perennial known as wild geranium come in various shades of pink, purple, and white. They thrive in a range of moist, shady places, including hardwood forests and wayside woods. Many different kinds of bees, including bumblebees, mason bees, halictid bees, andrenid bees, and nomadine cuckoo bees, are drawn to the blossoms of these plants. 

Smaller species of butterflies and skippers, as well as syrphid flies and March flies, also stop by them. As the blossoms fade, fruit capsules emerge, each carrying one seed connected to a beak-like column resembling a crane’s bill. 

11. New England asters

New England aster flowers
New England aster flowers | image by Alvin Kho via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New England aster is a flower that comes in a variety of colors, ranging from violet and purple to lavender and various hues of pink, and it draws in a wide range of pollinators due to its appearance. The plant itself can reach a height of up to 6 feet, and it’s common to find it growing along the banks of streams, in moist meadows, in thickets, and even along roadways. This aster is often used in flower gardens and other forms of landscaping due to its vibrant blossoms that attract pollinating insects like butterflies and bees. 

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12. Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed susan flower
Black-eyed Susan flower | image by Seney Natural History Association via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Rudbeckia hirta

One of the cheery flowers that you may find growing along the edges of fields and meadows is the black-eyed Susan. These daisy-like flowers have bright yellow petals and brown cores, so it’s easy to recognize this plant by its blossoms alone.

They’re also able to survive in a variety of soils and conditions, making them a desirable addition to any garden that receives plenty of sunlight. A great number of butterfly species are drawn to it, and some species, such as the bordered patch, gorgone checkerspot, and silvery checkerspot, use it as a host plant for their larvae.

13. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort flowers
St. John’s wort flowers | image by Thomas Quine via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Hypericum perforatum

The St. John’s wort is one of the flowers that attract insects and thrives on prairies, pastures, waste areas, and roadsides, particularly in sandy soils. It’s thought that the dark dots on the petals of the flower represent drips of St. John’s blood since the petals of the flower range in color from bright yellow to orange-yellow, and they feature black dots on the edges of the petals. Additionally, in herbal medicine, St. John’s wort is used as a treatment for depression.