Along rural ditch banks and field margins as well as in suburban lawns an impressive pinkish red tree is now in bloom. Upon close inspection we see honey bees in great numbers amid the colorful blossoms along the twigs and branches. This is the redbud, a member of the legume or pea family. The legumes are an important family of bee plants which includes wild and cultivated peas and beans, vetches, clovers, alfalfa, lespedeza, wisteria, locusts, soybeans, and peanuts. The honey bees gather both pollen and nectar from the redbud at a time when large amounts of food are being consumed to feed the colony’s rapidly expanding brood nest. These bright red trees are a welcomed sight to both the bees and the beekeeper.
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