Bees and Bottle Gentians

September 22, 2017

 One of the most fascinating native plant groups are the bottle gentians.  There are some that have flowers that open to the most amazing shade of blue.  Then there are others which don't open at all.   


If the flowers don't open, then how do they get pollinated?  Great question,  I am so glad you asked.  The humble bumble does the trick.  The bumble bee is the only bee strong enough to pry open the petals, climb inside buzzz around a bit then retreat and move along to the next flower. 


Just like humans there is always someone looking to get something for nothing and several thief bees have figured out they can drill a hole in the closed petals and glean the rewards with minimal effort. 


This video taken at Watermark Woods shows one bumble pollinating Gentians andrewesii, the Closed bottle Gentian.   Also in the picture is Heuchera americana native Coral Bells. You can ignore the hosts nad japanese stilt grass,  we all have our downfalls.






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