Slow down to see spring's ephemeral flowers

Bumblebee on bush honeysuckle. Photo: Kimberly Stoner, Ph.D.

Big bursts of yellow forsythia call out to us in late April, like billboards for spring, easy to see as we fly by in cars, trains, or on bicycles.

It's a welcome sight, but the picture is missing something. Forsythia is not native to our area—and, therefore, not of life-nurturing importance to some of the most endangered regional insects, the early-emerging bees, butterflies, flies, wasps, and moths that are known to insect scientists as "feeding specialists." Some of these choosy creatures rely on early-blossoming native flowers for pollen and other support.

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