Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Shape of April Bee Flowers

One of our neighbors has planted native bushes on the boulevard in front of her house. This has created a super bee habitat, with mason bees zipping back and forth from holes in the adjacent power pole to the Oregon grape bush and the Pieris japonica (not native, but very popular with native mason bees).

 I never noticed before that the Oregon grape blossoms are like miniature daffoldils

The female mason bees will transform from larvae to adult bees in the back of these holes, and the males will develop closer to the entrance. Some of the boys will inevitably be lost to woodpeckers.

 The blossoms of the redflowering current are also like miniature daffodils.

 The honeybee is one of many bees who can access the nectar in the blossoms. All kinds of currants are attracted to currant blossoms. We really need to load up our city parks and gardens with different varieties of currant bushes.

This little mystery bee showed up on the current leaf. He's got a sweet red moustache and large mandibles. I don't know the Latin name, but I'm going to call him Angus.

 And for a completely different blossom shape--this purple dead nettle flower has the bilateral symmetry of the mint family. Did you know this weed is edible? Just remember to leave some for the bees!

Finally, here's the narrow bell-shaped flowers of the Pieris japonica. In June, the native rose nearby will also provide food for native bees. Thanks to this gardener, this boulevard is an excellent bee habitat!

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