What I Saw On A Single Hoary Mountain Mint Plant
—100 Different Insect Species!--
By Brigitte McCauley
A couple of years ago my sister put one small plant of hoary mountain mint into our flower bed. It has now spread about a square foot at the base, and I love its display of white flowers and silvery foliage. But my favorite part about is how many bugs it attracts! Recently, out of curiosity, I decided to try to photograph the different species that I saw coming.
Over the course of a few days, I periodically checked the plant and took pictures of all the species I found on it. Paying close attention made me notice how many insects were depending on this single plant, from big, showy butterflies to tiny gnat-like flies and other bizarre-looking critters that I've never seen before. Each and every species had its specific purpose for visiting the plant. Most were drawn by nectar, but some came for other purposes. I saw grasshoppers eating leaves, weevils sucking juice from the stems, predatory bugs and spiders searching for prey, and a few insects simply seeking shelter beneath the leaves.
When I collaborated the images together, I was shocked. Over only a few days, one hundred different species were in some way using a single plant of hoary mountain mint! It made me realize just how important a single plant can be and that by adding one more native plant, we can help to make a big difference for so many insects!
**The 5 collections of photographs below are numbered with a coorisponding key where we labeled the insects to the best of our knowledge. Feel free to share your thoughts about their names.
**I'm sure there are dozens more visiting too that I somehow overlooked or wasn't present to photograph!
Insects on Hoary Mountain Mint