Pollination of Siberian Iris (INVASIVE)

I try never to post non-native plant species invasive to the North American ecosystem, but these images are too good not to share. Besides plant life, I like to document the creatures that surround and depend on them, and this hard-working bumble bee deserves its 5 minutes of fame. I had previously also photographed a bee pollinating the grasspink orchid that you can see here.

As I was driving to the Green swamp preserve in North Carolina, I kept an eye on the roadside; some interesting plants grow by the side of roads inhabiting a disturbed space. Besides, ditches ran around the roads used to direct rainwater. The trenches thus provide a wet ecosystem for semi-aquatic plants to thrive. Driving by one of them, I saw a flash of blue that needed closer inspection. I had initially hoped it would be the native Irises like the ones I had documented earlier but turned out to be similar-looking Siberian Irises.

Luckily for me, there were plenty of bees working on these flowers in the early cloudy summer morning, perfect for photography, lots of light for fast shutter speeds, but soft enough not to create contrast issues while editing! Enjoy the slideshow of the bee forcing itself inside the Iris!

Native and Invasive Irises (Iridaceae)

If there is one thing you can be sure of, as you learn more about plants and how to identify them, the clearer the destruction of native wildlands gets. Soon the beautiful flowers you see in a wild reserve turn up to be aggressive invasive species brought to the continent by people wanting a more European garden.

Today I want to show two species of Irises that can be found in New Jersey, North-Eastern America, Iris pseudacorus (Yellow-Flag Iris), and Iris versicolor (blue flag Iris).

Both species look similar, but, in my personal opinion, the native Iris looks far better than its European cousin. But, as the yellow-flag were quite popular in Europe they were imported for their ornamental value.

Both species like wet conditions to grow in and are found growing near ponds or swamps. Yellow Flag Iris takes over aquatic habitat and out-competes native plants by forming thick clumps that are hard to remove.

Adding native plants to your garden has a lot of advantages. Besides making your yard look beautiful, they attract and provide shelter to native insects and help restore the land to its original splendor! You can find links to native gardening websites here.

Go ahead, slide between the two flowers, and tell me which one is prettier!