Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blackberry in Bloom

The blackberry is in bloom. All along the margins of woodlots and field borders the white blossoms of the thorny canes of blackberries can be seen. Often there are enough blackberries present in areas not under agricultural use to make for a significant nectar source for the honey bee. This makes the blackberry bloom a notable milestone in the beekeeping year. A warm and sunny day will find many honey bees gathering pollen and nectar from blackberries.

The blackberry plant is a member of one of the families of bee plants that provide a significant amount of forage for honey bees, the roses. Other members of this important family of bee plants include the spring flowering trees: the almond, plum, pear, apple, and crabapple. The hawthorns are roses as well as the other brambles, like raspberries. The blackberry attracts the honey bee with its nectar. The honey bee unknowingly pollinates the blackberry as it collects pollen or nectar. Only with this pollination does the blackberry produce fruit. The blackberry fruit and seeds provide food for birds and wildlife. Thank you, honey bees, because the blackberry makes one of our best cobblers. Pollination by bees accounts for one third of our human diet, and it seems like that is the tastiest one third.
--Richard

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