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Environ Entomol. 2007 Aug;36(4):751-65.

Attractiveness of Michigan native plants to arthropod natural enemies and herbivores.

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Department of Entomology, 204 Center for Integrated Plant Systems, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1311, USA.


The use of plants to provide nectar and pollen resources to natural enemies through habitat management is a growing focus of conservation biological control. Current guidelines frequently recommend use of annual plants exotic to the management area, but native perennial plants are likely to provide similar resources and may have several advantages over exotics. We compared a set of 43 native Michigan perennial plants and 5 frequently recommended exotic annual plants for their attractiveness to natural enemies and herbivores for 2 yr. Plant species differed significantly in their attractiveness to natural enemies. In year 1, the exotic annual plants outperformed many of the newly established native perennial plants. In year 2, however, many native perennial plants attracted higher numbers of natural enemies than exotic plants. In year 2, we compared each flowering plant against the background vegetation (grass) for their attractiveness to natural enemies and herbivores. Screening individual plant species allowed rapid assessment of attractiveness to natural enemies. We identified 24 native perennial plants that attracted high numbers of natural enemies with promise for habitat management. Among the most attractive are Eupatorium perfoliatum L., Monarda punctata L., Silphium perfoliatum L., Potentilla fruticosa auct. non L., Coreopsis lanceolata L., Spiraea alba Duroi, Agastache nepetoides (L.) Kuntze, Anemone canadensis L., and Angelica atropurpurea L. Subsets of these plants can now be tested to develop a community of native plant species that attracts diverse natural enemy taxa and provides nectar and pollen throughout the growing season.

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