Friday, August 19, 2016

How old is a flower?

Bees can tell.

An older flower, and a honey bee with full bags of pollen.

And a young flower.
And this gumweed flower is half-way between the two above.

Gumweeds are composites; their flower heads contain many smaller flowers, the petal-like ray flowers around the edge, and a mass of disc flowers in the centre. The individual flowers mature first at the outer edge, then progressively inward, with the youngest flowers in the middle.

Look again at the flowers above; the younger flowers are still closed, the recently mature ones, where the bees are busy harvesting, have protruding anthers loaded with pollen, and on the outer edge, the tiny flowers are busy making seeds. Each single flower will produce one seed.

The ray flowers are sterile.

Still here. Moving on tomorrow.


  1. Wonderful photos. This is the first time I have seen a bee's "bags of pollen."

  2. I've seen our yellow jackets really hanging around my flowers this year. I don't remember that from the past. I need to apologize. I accidentally deleted your comment on my post about the Black Slug. So sorry! That's a lot of slugs to collect. I'm pretty lazy. I let them eat and just pick around them. Usually they are the worst on my lettuce. Kale must be too tough for them. - Margy

    1. No worries! I wouldn't call you lazy, not with your beautiful garden, so well cared for! But there are limits to what we can do.
      Here, I've been ignoring the odd slug; I planted lettuce and they ate it all, but I'm used to that, after Delta. And I have no other veggies planted this year. Maybe next year.

    2. I overplanted this year since I knew we would be home all summer except for the few day or two trips in the boat. When I'm home there's always something in the garden that needs tending. - Margy


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