The Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia), also known as a flower crab spider, isn't really an insect, of course; but this arachnid is so beneficial to your garden that I decided to include it with beneficial insects. According to Planet Natural Research Center, spiders are the most effective of all beneficial 'insects' and are even more beneficial than birds at controlling insect pests in the garden. In fact, planting flowers in your vegetable garden is a great way to attract spiders to the garden and take advantage of their veracious appetite for insects.
Crab spiders are a type of ambush spider, which means they typically select a flower and sit in wait for insects to visit the flower where they quickly attack and overpower the poor, unsuspecting insect.. Because they can change colors from white to yellow, the goldenrod spider often blends into the background, making it difficult to see. The crab spider above has made her home on a wild daisy and is predominately white. Those found on goldenrod or other yellow flowers appear yellow.
But, don't be fooled into thinking all goldenrod crab spiders are plump and white. The male is much smaller with dark markings. The photo above shows both the female crab spider on the center of the daisy and the male on the right.
Sulfur Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) is a delightful summer flower that is often viewed as a noxious or invasive weed. This plant is not native to the United States. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and was brought to the U.S. sometime before 1900.
It can be found in backyards, along ditches or in fields and other scrub areas. It is most commonly found in areas where the soil has been disturbed, but it can also appear in undisturbed areas.
While this plant may become a nuisance, especially when it springs up in lawns, gardens and flower beds, its heart-shaped petals give this flower plenty of appeal.