Plant and Pollinator Guides


Use these planting guides to help pick the plants that are best for you and pollinators! Our lists have dozens of species of native New England pollinator-friendly plants, all of which are available from major native plant nurseries. Please refrain from digging up wild plants for use in your garden. If you are interested in starting your own plants from seeds, be sure to source your seed ethically and sustainably. Instructions for propagating your own native plants from seeds can be found from the Wild Seed Project (Maine) and Ecological Landscape Alliance.

Other planting guides that we find useful:


Identifying insects is challenging, but can be learned with a little practice. Our identification guides present common species of major pollinator groups that you can find in urban New England. For the species presented in our guides, identification is possible “on the wing” or with a photograph. For many insects, however, species-level identification in the field is not possible and requires high quality photographs from many angles (or a specimen, but we don’t advocate for killing insects).

When it comes to insect identification, practice makes perfect. Get outside and watch pollinators as much as possible. Visit your local garden—whether in your backyard or at a park—and take photos and notes on what you see. Try to identify as many pollinators as you can. Ask TPI scientists or use iNaturalist to improve your insect identification skills. Taxonomic experts frequently browse iNaturalist’s catalog and will help you identify the pollinators you spotted and photographed.

Generic pollinator guides

Species-specific bee guides

Other guides we like

Rehan Lab guide to northeastern bees

Spencer Hardy’s (Vermont Eco-studies) guide to field-identifiable bees

Massachusetts Butterfly Club

Even Dankowicz’s field identifiable hover flies