These are the publications I found useful in putting this note together. Essentially every piece of information I used came from these excellent information sources. These are the professionally researched lists you should sort through as you make up your own mind about what fits best into your local pollinator habitat.
One of the most important themes repeated over and over is that native pollinators favor native plants. You will not likely find native plants at your local big-box garden center store. What makes a flower attractive to a human is not likely attractive to a pollen and nectar seeking insect. In the greater Boston area, do your native plant shopping at the New England Wildflower Society or similar growers. These first two documents have been tailored to this region and promote plants that thrive locally and are favored by pollinators.
Here is an example of some plants found growing natively around the Brandeis campus. It is worth noting that since these are native plants, they can be found growing naturally locally and it is easy to take home a flower stalk that you find growing in the wild containing their seed, or if permitted, to dig up a root for transplanting.
Selecting Plants for Pollinators: Eastern Broadleaf Forest by Elizabeth Ley, NAPPC and Pollinator Partnership publication nappc.org, and pollinator.org
Polinator Plants, Northeast Region. by the Xerces Society
Pollinator Syndromes by pollinator.org
Attracting Pollinators to your Garden, a US Dept of Agriculture publication. I love the pictures in this booklet. Page 5 has all the highpoints to remember!
Your Urban Garden is Better with Bees, Originally published for California residents, it has one paragraph titled “Bees Love these Plant Families (especially these species)”. This is the one page I’d keep in my back pocket when visiting a plant nursery.
Managing Alternative Pollinators, At 170 pages, it is a detailed collection of info on the major bee types. See table 10.1 labelled “Some Native Perennials for Attracting Wild Pollinators”. They mean Native Perennials for attracting BEE pollinators.
Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States, Your guide to identifying and feeding bumble bees specifically.
Conserving Bumble Bees:, Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America’s Declining Pollinators. Well! That’s a pretty ominous subtitle! This document is produced by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. This 2012 document got my attention and was an eye opener for me!
2017 update: Now that at least one local bumble bee, the Rusty Patch bumble bee has been officially declared “Endangered”, this document deserves to be a little higher on your reading priority list.
Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees. This is your guide to bees that are not honey bees. Published by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), it is easy reading.
Toward the very end of assembling this note I came across three pages I received during 2015 from an environmental activist group “ Friends of the Earth”. I’ve included the documents here as they’re well done summaries of pollinator friendly plants that are excellent reference documents. These are scanned copies of their pollinator plant summary sheets. Pollinator summary sheets