News and Events Gold-Star Plants for Biodiversity Did you know it’s actually the small plants, the wildflowers and the bugs, caterpillars, spiders and other ‘creepy-crawlies’ that are so important for biodiversity? They form the base of the food webs that support all of the more ‘attractive’ birds and mammals we may want to help the most. Read on to explore some gold-star plants for biodiversity. DandelionImage by Viridi GreenIt's the most important plant for insects in early spring. From mid-March until mid-May it provides vital food for bees and other early-flying insects such as butterflies. Later, when the flowers disappear, birds feast on the seed-heads. Dandelion seed is a favourite with birds such as the Goldfinch and Greenfinch. The plant’s leaves are also food for some moth larvae, including the lovely Garden Tiger moth. (And not to forget, dandelions allow you make wishes!) Between birds and bees, what more could one flower offer to the world? IvyImage by Markus WinklerSometimes Ivy can get a bad rep from getting a little too out of hand. But did you know that Ivy provides good cover for nesting birds, and also hibernating butterflies? Late flowering, in autumn, makes Ivy very important for Bumblebee queens who need to put on weight before hibernation. Ivy berries are also very important to birds in late winter, when food is scarce. BrambleImage by Monika Grabkowska Did you know Bramble is a gold-star plant for biodiversity?Often under-appreciated, or indeed hated, as a thorny, troublesome plant that trips you up on a country walk, Bramble provides vital food for pollinating insects in late summer, and berries for birds and mammals in autumn. Perhaps a corner of your garden or estate could include a bramble patch? You can even clip it back each winter to keep your bramble zone contained. And the best part? You can enjoy the blackberries along with the hungry birds in autumn! CloverImage by Paul GreenNot just a pretty face, Clover actually fixes nitrogen in the soil which other plants can then use. Clover has friendly bacteria in its roots that helps absorb the nitrogen from the air and pull it into the soil! Clover used to be called 'Bees's bread' because it provides such important food - in its pollen and nectar stores - for bees! Extracts from Gardening for Biodiversity by Juanita Browne. Grow With Us is supported by Help us to preserve Ireland's rich heritage, protect our beautiful nature, and slow climate change. To join An Taisce or gift someone a membership click below.