Sunday, January 10, 2010
The First Flower
The dandelion is a member of the important bee plant family, the composites. The composite or sunflower family is one of the largest families of flowering plants. Comprising about 10 percent of all flowering plants, many of the composites are abundant producers of nectar and pollen. The dandelion is one of the most dependable food sources for honey bees. Hearty and abundant, it blooms at times when nothing else does. We can almost count on the honey bees being able to find some dandelion nectar and pollen on the first day that temperatures climb enough for the bees to fly. In the early months of the year, honey bees often forage for dandelion pollen. As this protein source is brought into the hive, the queen bee is stimulated to begin brood production. On the bee farm and many areas of the world, the dandelion is appreciated as a colorful wildflower, welcomed in lawns and open spaces.