Pill Bug / Roly Poly

Scientific Name: Armadillidium vulgare

Family: Armadillidiidae

Native Range: Europe. Introduced to North America, Pennsylvania*

Size: Length: 18 mm (0.71 in)*

Active: Spring

Color and Appearance: Dark gray with yellow specks. Rolls itself into a complete sphere with no gap when frightened.*

*From (


Sparrow, House

Scientific Name: Passer domesticus

Family: Passeridae

Native Range: Europe and Asia, introduced into North America and Pennsylvania

Size: Length: 14 to 18 cm (5.5 to 7.1 in); Wingspan:

Active: Year-round resident

Field Markings: “Breeding male has black bill, bib, and lores; chestnut eye stripes, nape, back, and shoulders; Winter male less patterned; Female has brown back, streaked with black; buffy eyestripe; and unstreaked grayish breast.” (Alderfer p. 260-261)


Finch, House

Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus

Family: Fringillidae

Native Range: Western North America, introduced in the east, Pennsylvania

Size: Medium finch: Length 12.5 to 15 cm (4.9 to 5.9 in); Wingspan: 20 to 25 cm (7.9 to 9.8 in)

Active: Year-round resident*

Field Markings: “Male’s forehead, bib, and rump are typically red, but can be orange or, occasionally yellow; brown streaked back, pale belly, streaked flanks; Female streaked dusky brown on entire body” (Alderfer p. 256-257)


European Wool Carder Bee

Scientific Name: Anthidium manicatum

Family: Megachilidae

Native Range: Europe, Asia, Africa, introduced to North America in mid-twentieth century

Size: Medium with unusually strong sexual dimorphism. Females: 11 -13 mm (0.43 – 0.51 in); Males: 14 – 17 (0.55 – 0.67 in)*

Nest: Solitary, cavity*

Nesting Location and Materials: Preexisting cavities lined with tricomes (“wool”) from plant leaves.*

Active: Summer, (Wilson and Carrill, p. 176-178.)

Color and Appearance: Black with golden hairs

Pollen Collection: Hairs on face (Wilson and Carrill, p. 176-178.)

Flight Distance:

European wool carder bees are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. They were first observed near Ithica, NY in the 1960s and have since spread across north America. While native Anthidium sp. are active in the spring, only the introduced Anthidium manicatum is active in late summer.

Unlike most bees, the males are significantly larger than the females. Their eggs are laid at the back of the nesting tunnel, meaning that the smaller females hatch first. Large males defend flower patches and wait to mate with passing females.

Female wool carder bees collect the fuzz from plant leaves and use it to line their nesting areas and create dividers between their brood cells. (Wilson and Carrill, p. 176-178.)

*From Wikipedia (

August 12, 2020: I have observed a lone wool carder bee flying loops around the anise hyssop patch. I presume that this is our resident male, defending his patch from interlopers and looking for mates. Although Wikipedia says that males will defend their patch against even humans, he seems to ignore me. I appreciate that.


Honeysuckle, Hybrid

Scientific Name: Lonicera sp.

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Height: 10-15 ft.

Spread: 5-6 ft.

Bloom Time: June-September

Native Range: Europe and Asia, hybridized in gardens

Ecological Value: None.

Human Value: Ornamental


Soapwort / Bouncing Bett

Scientific Name: Saponaria officinalis

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Height: 1-2.5 ft.

Spread: 1-2 ft.

Bloom Time: June-August

Native Range: Europe and western Asia

Ecological Value: Nectar plant.

Human Value: Europeans introduced soapwort in colonial times. Sap from the stems and roots was mixed with water to create a lathery soap.



Scientific Name: Salvia sp.

Height: 2 ft.

Spread: 1.5-2 ft.

Bloom Time: May-August

Native Range: Europe and Asia

Ecological Value: Nectar plant

Human Value: Ornamental


Oriental Hybrid Lily

Scientific Name: Lillium hybrid

Family: Liliaceae

Height: 1-3 ft.

Spread: 0.75-2 ft

Bloom Time: June-July

Native Range: Asia, hybridized in gardens

Ecological Value: Nectar.

Human Value: Ornamental. All parts are poisonous.

According to Wikipedia: “These are based on hybrids within LiliumsectionArchelirion,[36][37] specifically Lilium auratum and Lilium speciosum, together with crossbreeds from several species native to Japan, including Lilium nobilissimumLilium rubellumLilium alexandrae, and Lilium japonicum.They are fragrant, and the flowers tend to be outward facing. Plants tend to be tall, and the flowers may be quite large. The whole group are sometimes referred to as “stargazers” because many of them appear to look upwards. (For the specific cultivar, see Lilium ‘Stargazer’.)” (


Bearded Iris

Scientific Name: Iris x germanica

Family: Iridaceae

Height: 2-3 ft.

Spread: 1-2 ft

Bloom Time: June

Native Range: Probably southern Europe and Mediterranean, hybridized in gardens

Ecological Value: None

Human Value: Ornamental. All parts are poisonous.

Our irises were rescued from the house next door when it was being renovated. The entire yard was cleared to dirt, but I was allowed to dig up the plants that could be saved and move them to our lot.



Scientific Name: Hosta sp.

Family: Asparagaceae

Height: 1.5-3 ft

Spread: 2-3 ft.

Bloom Time: July

Native Range: China and Japan

Ecological Value: None

Human Value: Shoots, leaves and flowers are edible. Leaves are best when young although tough and bitter when older. They can be grown as cut and come again leaves. The stems can be used like asparagus.