Hey everyone! I wanted to give some spotlight to some awesome native flowers that can be incorporated into solar operations. Biosolar, more recent term, describes to co-placement of vegetation & solar operations since vegetation improves the efficiency of solar panels and solar panels provide shading and create micro-climates for cropping & planting. I think it would be beautiful to make our solar spaces more green & better for pollinators as well!
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Not only are these beautiful purple/pink plumes appealing to our eyes, they are also appealing to, not only our bees, but also to those of butterflies, specifically monarchs! They take up water well and would be a great fit for our rain gardens. I have also found that they deal well with low oxygen levels in the soil, making them a more hardy plant.
Appalachian Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum flexuosum)
The dainty white flowers of this more uncommon mountain mint species are both beautiful and important, as they attract all different species of bees and the Gray Hairstreak Butterfly. Named after our Appalachian region, these flowers make a nice aromatic addition to any garden and develop red foliage in the fall.
Wild Bergamot (Mondarda fistulosa)
This upright, lavender flowers attract both bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds! Not only are they a beautiful aromatic, they can also be used to make earl grey tea. It is a host to the hermit sphinx, orange mint moth, and the raspberry pyrausta as well, all being interesting moths to be observed at the campus Moth Observation Station.