Garden flowers: insect visits and the floral reward of horticulturally-modified variants

  • Published source details Comba L., Corbet S.A., Barron A., Bird A., Collinge S., Miyazaki N. & Powell M. (1999) Garden flowers: insect visits and the floral reward of horticulturally-modified variants. Annals of Botany, 83, 73-86.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant parks and gardens with appropriate flowers

Action Link
Bee Conservation
  1. Plant parks and gardens with appropriate flowers

    Natural shaped, rather than horticulturally modified varieties of garden plants are recommended for foraging insects. A trial of nearly natural and horticulturally modified varieties of six popular garden plants in the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, Cambridgeshire, England (Comba et al. 1999a) found that bumblebee visits to hollyhock Alcea rosea and larkspur Consolida sp. were more frequent on natural, single-petalled forms than on horticulturally modified, double-petalled varieties. Bee visits to four of the flower types - nasturtium Tropaeolum majus, pansy Viola x wittrockiana, marigold Tagetes patula and snapdragon Antirrhinum majus were infrequent despite ample nectar provision from some varieties. There was a tendency for wild bees to prefer natural flower shapes in pansy, marigold and snapdragon, but not in nasturtium.

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