THE CULTIVAR AND ROBIN FLUKE
Robins overwinter in Ohio only when it’s a mild winter — which it has been until lately. I normally see these birds at the end of February. However, I’ve had this lone Robin here all week.
The second oddity— it’s the first and only time I’ve seen any birds at all eat the berries from the Winter King Hawthorn. I bought that tree over 13 years ago— thinking I was buying a species native tree to feed caterpillars and all wildlife year round. The nursery I bought it from told me that it was hybrid and that it would feed caterpillars.
A year after planting and not a caterpillar showed—-I researched my ass off to find out that this tree is a cultivar. I was PISSED, however, it did feed the bees and beetles early in the season, so I kept it. That’s been about 13 years ago. It’s never attracted caterpillar nor fed a bird until this year. I suspect is a very last unwanted food source for the birds.
It was this scenario that I was lied to about what this tree would do for wildlife that prompted me to continually remind people NATIVARS and cultivar flora are NOT species native plants.
Many are being duped into buying these cultivars— which feed mostly NOTHING.
In my opinion, cultivars are a major reason for pollinator and bird decline. They literally stop the life cycle.
That said, this hawthorn has never had a caterpillar and rarely feeds the birds. It feed only 1/3 of the wildlife that I expected it to feed.
It was my first “native” tree. I learned the hard way that I should have gone to a native plant nursery.
Parting words, please buy species native trees and shrubs and plants. We need those trees for butterflies and moths to use as host plants for their caterpillars. The insect eating birds needs those caterpillars for food. Cultivar plants have their purpose but should be VERY limited in use. Unfortunately, species natives aren’t sold at most nurseries. Please. Please. Please seek out native plant nurseries only. Wildlife depends on you.