Flowers used by North American bees

North American flowers. This list was very kindly supplied by James H. Cane at USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA. Although it lists the genus of plants used by bees in north America it is so extensive that it can be used by gardeners almost anywhere in the world.

So the deal is this - in return for the nectar they drink and the pollen they eat, the bees will reward you with a hum and will pollinate your flowers for free. What more could you ask?

Acanthaceae Justicia chuparosa
Aceraceae Acer maple
Anacardiaceae Rhus sumac
Apiaceae Anethum dill
Apiaceae Daucus carrot
Apiaceae Tanacetum tansy
Aquifoliaceae Ilex holly
Asteraceae Achillea yarrow
Asteraceae Aster aster not doubled
Asteraceae Calliopsis cosmos
Asteraceae Carthamnus safflower
Asteraceae Centaurea bachelor's button, corn flower not doubled
Asteraceae Chrysanthemum chrysanthemum simple flowered
Asteraceae Chrysothamnus rabbit brush, chamisa
Asteraceae Coreopsis coreopsis
Asteraceae Cosmos cosmos
Asteraceae Echinacea cone flower
Asteraceae Erigeron fleabane
Asteraceae Eupatorium joe pye weed
Asteraceae Geraea desert sunflower
Asteraceae Grindelia gumweed
Asteraceae Helenium sneezeweed
Asteraceae Helianthella sunflower
Asteraceae Helianthus sunflower not doubled
Asteraceae Hieracium hawkweed
Asteraceae Hymenopappus false cosmos
Asteraceae Hymenoxys alpine sunflower
Asteraceae Layia tidytips
Asteraceae Liatris blazing star
Asteraceae Ratibida Mexican hat
Asteraceae Rudbeckia black_eyed susan
Asteraceae Senecio senecio
Asteraceae Silybum milk thistle
Asteraceae Solidago goldenrod
Asteraceae Tithonia Mexican sunflower
Asteraceae Verbesina golden crownbeard
Asteraceae Viguiera showy golden_eye
Asteraceae Wyethia mules ear
Asteraceae Zinnia zinnia not doubled
Berberidaceae Berberis barberry
Berberidaceae Mahonia mahonia
Bignoniaceae Chilopsis desert willow
Bignoniaceae Tecoma yellow trumpet bush
Boraginaceae Borago borage
Boraginaceae Cynoglossum comfrey
Boraginaceae Hackelia wild formet_me_not
Boraginaceae Heliotropium heliotrope
Boraginaceae Mertensia bluebells
Brassicaceae Brassica mustard
Brassicaceae Erysimum wallflower
Brassicaceae Lepidium pepperweed
Brassicaceae Lesquerella bladderpod
Brassicaceae Raphanus
Brassicaceae Stanleya prince's plume
Cactaceae Ferocactus barrel cactus
Cactaceae Opuntia pear cactus
Campanulaceae Campanula bell flower
Capparaceae Wislizenia jackass clover
Caprifoliaceae Sambucus elderberry
Caprifoliaceae Viburnum arrowood, snowball bush
Caryophyllaceae Cerastium snow_in_summer
Crassulaceae Sedum sedum, stonecrop
Cucurbitaceae Cucurbita squash, gourd, pumpkin
Dipsaceae Scabiosa pincushion flower not doubled
Ericaceae Arctostaphylos manzanita
Ericaceae Calluna heather
Ericaceae Oxydendrum sourwood
Ericaceae Phyllodoce mountain_heath
Ericaceae Vaccinium blueberry, cranberry, huckleberry
Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia spurge
Fabaceae Acacia acacia
Fabaceae Astragalus locoweed
Fabaceae Baptisia false indigo
Fabaceae Caragena Siberian peashrub
Fabaceae Cassia senna
Fabaceae Cercidium palo verde
Fabaceae Cercis redbud
Fabaceae Coronilla crownvetch
Fabaceae Glycyrrhiza licorice
Fabaceae Hedysarum sweet vetch, french honeysuckle
Fabaceae Lathyrus everlasting pea
Fabaceae Lespedeza bush clover esp. L. cuneata
Fabaceae Lotus birdsfoot trefoil, lotus
Fabaceae Medicago alfalfa, medic
Fabaceae Melilotus sweet clover
Fabaceae Oxytropis locoweed
Fabaceae Parkinsonia Mexican palo verde
Fabaceae Petalostemon prairie clover
Fabaceae Prosopis mesquite
Fabaceae Psorothamnus dalea
Fabaceae Robinia black locust
Fabaceae Thermopsis false lupine, golden pea
Fabaceae Trifolium clover
Fabaceae Vicia vetch
Gentianaceae Gentiana blue gentian
Grossulariaceae Ribes currant
Hydrophyllaceae Eriodictyon yerba santa
Hydrophyllaceae Nemophila blue eyes
Hydrophyllaceae Phacelia bluebells, scorpionweed
Lamiaceae Agastache hyssop
Lamiaceae Calamintha calamint
Lamiaceae Caryopteris blue mist spirea
Lamiaceae Hedeoma sweetscent, mock pennyroyal
Lamiaceae Hyptis desert lavendar
Lamiaceae Lavendula lavendar
Lamiaceae Mentha mint
Lamiaceae Monarda bee balm not red
Lamiaceae Nepeta catmint
Lamiaceae Ocimum basil
Lamiaceae Origanum oregano
Lamiaceae Perovskia Russian sage, filigran
Lamiaceae Physostegia obedient plant
Lamiaceae Prunella henbit
Lamiaceae Pycnanthemum mountain mint
Lamiaceae Rosmarinus rosemary
Lamiaceae Salvia salvia not red
Lamiaceae Stachys lamb's ear
Lamiaceae Teucrium germander
Lamiaceae Thymus thyme
Lamiaceae Trichostema bluecurls
Liliaceae Allium allium
Limnanthaceae Limnanthes meadowfoam
Linaceae Linum flax
Loasaceae Mentzelia blazing star
Lythraceae Cuphea false heather
Malvaceae Althea hollyhock not doubled
Malvaceae Callirhoe poppy mallow
Malvaceae Iliamna mountain hollyhock
Malvaceae Malva mallow
Malvaceae Sidalcea checkermallow
Malvaceae Sphaeralcea globemallow
Oleaceae Ligustrum privet
Onagraceae Camissonia camissonia
Onagraceae Clarkia clarkia not doubled
Onagraceae Gaura gaura
Onagraceae Oenothera evening primrose
Papaveraceae Argemone prickly poppy
Papaveraceae Platystemon creamcups
Papaveraceae Romneya Matilija poppy
Plumbaginaceae Armeria sea thrift
Polemoneaceae Polemonium Jacob's ladder
Polemoniaceae Gilia gilia blue or violet
Polemoniaceae Linanthus mountain phlox
Polygonaceae Eriogonum wild buckwheat
Polygonaceae Rheum
Pontederiaceae Pontederia pickerelweed
Portulacaceae Talinum flame flower
Ranunculaceae Aquilegia columbine not doubled
Ranunculaceae Delphinium larkspur not doubled
Rhamnaceae Ceanothus buckbrush
Rhamnaceae Rhamnus buckthorn
Rosaceae Amelanchier serviceberry
Rosaceae Cercocarpus mountain mahogany
Rosaceae Geum avens
Rosaceae Holodiscus cliff spirea, mountainspray
Rosaceae Malus apple
Rosaceae Physocarpus ninebark
Rosaceae Prunus cherry, plum
Rosaceae Purshia cliff rose
Rosaceae Rosa wild rose
Rosaceae Rubus raspberry, blackberry, brambles
Rosaceae Spiraea spiraea
Salicaceae Salix willow not weeping willow
Scrophulariaceae Keckiella bush penstemon
Scrophulariaceae Linaria toadflax
Scrophulariaceae Mimulus monkey flower
Scrophulariaceae Pedicularis lousewort
Scrophulariaceae Penstemon penstemon
Scrophulariaceae Veronica speedwell, veronica
Solanaceae Lycium wolfberry
Solanaceae Physalis groundcherry
Solanaceae Solanum nightshade
Sterculiaceae Fremontodendron flannelbush
Tiliaceae Tilia basswood
Valerianaceae Valeriana valerian
Verbenaceae Verbena verbena not red
Violaceae Viola violets not pansies
Zygophyllaceae Kallstroemia Arizona poppy
Zygophyllaceae Larrea creosote bush

Scottish flowers.

I know many of you now living the the US were originally from over here and I've had a few requests for "typical Scottish flowers", though Primula scotica is the only truly endemic Scottish flower, the few below are the flowers I used to think of when I lived abroad.

If you really want to put a bit of Scotland in your garden and benefit insects and birds at the same time then there really is just one flower for you - the thistle. Either the Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium), or the Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare). Both are handsome brutes near the top, but rather ugly around the base, so are best planted amongst other flowers. As both grow to over a metre I used to let them grow through a straggly hedge I had. Bees, hover flies, moths and butterflies use them for nectar and pollen, and if you leave the heads on the birds eat the seeds in the winter. They are very spiny though and you need to wear strong gloves when you haul them out. The flowers really are spectacular, there is nothing reserved or delicate about them. Some people cut them and dry them as well. Now if you want something a bit more delicate looking and pretty then I’d recommend the Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), it looks so thin and delicate with its pale blue nodding bells on spindly stalks, but don’t be fooled. Just outside my back door it pushes it’s way up through paving stones and survives a battering from the north wind. It’s not much good for bumblebees though, as the weight of a a big terrestris queen would haul the flower down, but they are pretty. Both of these flowers are widely seen around field edges and roadside verges. The Harebell is now quite popular in gardens too.

If you want a shrub then there is nothing better than Common gorse, or as most Scottish people know it, the Whin (Ulex europaeus). It, too, is very spiny and grows in hedges and along the roadside verges. In our last house it grew up the lane and the whole place smelled of almonds in the summer. The nice thing about whins is they have a poor idea of what season it is, so you can usually find some flowers in every season, but early summer is when there is an explosion of yellow over the hills. The bees like the flowers, and you can tell if the flowers have been visited as they explode with the weight of the bee sitting on them. This releases the stamens which have been curled up inside the closed flower like coiled springs; they bounce up hitting the bee’s abdomen and covering it in pollen ready to pollinate the stigma of an older flower. If you want something a bit more restrained then there are always the thousands of heather varieties available. There are heathers (Calluna spp. and Erica spp.) that flower during most of the year, and the stems and leaves provide the queens with shelter during rain and hail storms.

Many wildflower seeds are now available from seedsmen, but do remember there may be restrictions on introducing alien plants into your part of the world.

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