Friday, July 10, 2009

Buckwheat Vine in Bloom

Buckwheat vine grows in low, damp soil. The vine can be found throughout the Arkansas Delta covering low trees, fences, and utility poles in a thick, tangled mass of light green foliage. The vine is in bloom now and is covered with honey bees, many species of solitary bees, and other insects. When you look at the number of different insects visiting the exposed flowers of buckwheat vine on a sunny day, it is obvious that this is an important nectar-producing plant. The honey bees work the flowers of the vine heavily, gathering large quantities of nectar. Following pollination of the flowers the fruit appears which gives the buckwheat vine its other common name, ladies’ eardrops. The fruits are elongated pods that hang in great clusters throughout the rest of summer and fall. Click on the photo to see a honey bee foraging for nectar from the open flowers of buckwheat vine. At the top, you can see the fruit beginning to form into teardrop shapes.

While buckwheat vine is a prolific producer of nectar for the bees to gather and turn into honey, the vine is not appreciated by many other than beekeepers. Farmers tire of pulling the thick clumps of tough vines and leaves from their equipment. If the vines are left entangled in a cultivator, the mass of foliage will pull the crop out of the ground. For the beekeeper, buckwheat vine is one of the many flowering plants that add to the complexity of the tastes of honey.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Richard
    I am really enjoying reading your blog, I am a horticulturist and find your entries about all the native plants in your area very interesting. I am a woman beekeeper in NZ, pop into my blog if you have a chance, I am Ngaio on your followers list.