The horticultural industry has developed many wonderful cultivars derived from native plants. These plants are bred for specific characteristics; a more compact form, a longer bloom, or a different bloom or leaf colour.
There have been limited studies into the differences, in terms of food value to insect pollinators, between native plants and cultivars of native plants. A general trend was identified that the more highly bred (or altered) a native cultivar is, the less useful it becomes for pollinators.
Sometimes changing physical features of a native plant to create a ‘more ornamental’ plant also changes the chemical composition of the leaves or nectar; this can make the plant no longer palatable to wildlife. Size and shape changes can result in pollinators no longer being able to access the plant parts they need. Additionally, some cultivars do not produce as much nectar or pollen as their wild relatives, thus providing less food source.