Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Honey Bees Visit Skunk Cabbage!

Check out the below video of European honey bees visiting the unusual native-to-North-America plant, skunk cabbage. Steve got this shot at The Nature Conservancy's Big Darby Headwaters preserve in Ohio. According to the Illinois Natural History Survey, skunk cabbage is one of the few available sources of pollen in early spring when most other flowering  plants are still dormant.

If you don't have time to follow the second link, read this excerpt...amazing!:

Life History and Reproduction: Skunk cabbage has a remarkable ability to produce heat that allows it to emerge and bloom even when the ground is still frozen. During the winter when temperatures are freezing, the flower buds can warm up to 70 degrees, which melts the snow around the plant. Pollinated flower heads develop berry-like fruits containing seeds which germinate into new skunk cabbages next growing season. Skunk cabbage leaves decay rather quickly. The leaves have high water content, so there is less plant matter to dry out and decompose.


video

4 comments:

  1. I've seen lots of Skunk Cabbage, but never one with a visitor before. Great video!

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  2. Awesome, the bees know! I always think of being lost when I see skunk cabbage, as once my sis and I came down off a mountain in CO sort of turned around and got off the old logging road we had gone up on, and when we finally hit the valley floor we sunk up to our ankles in a bog of skunk cabbage--:o)

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    Replies
    1. Yikes! We've not had that experience, but we totally get it. It's usually growing in some real peaty soil! I bet that's a funny story you all recall. :)

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