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Most people associate honey bees with pollination but native pollinators include butterflies, moths, native bees, and a wide range of other insects. Many birds and some animals also are also pollinators. How important are pollinators to us? Apart from the beauty of butterflies and moths, pollination plays a very important direct connection with our survival.

Native bees are much less aggressive than their European counterparts, such the well-known European honey bee. Many native bees don't even have stingers. Research has shown that some native bees are more effective at pollinating fruits than are honey bees. Tomatoes, for example, are more productive when pollinated by bumble bees. A recent study showed that 500 native blue orchard bees can do the job of 40,000 European honeybees. European honey bee populations are dramatically dropping due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Because most native bees live solitary lives, CCD does not affect them.

Build it and they will come: most native pollinators are attracted specifically to native plants. By planting California native plants in conjunction with your fruits and vegetables, native pollinators will help spread the pollinating job around to your whole garden.

The following California native plants should attract native pollinators to your garden:

Trees and Shrubs


  • Calystegia species