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Floral Blooms- Late June Sustainers

Indian Hemp, aka Dogbane

This plant generally goes unnoticed but can help sustain your bees during a waning nectar flow. I like both names, Indian Hemp and Dogbane. Dogbane describes something every dog knows - it's poisonous to both dogs and humans. So don't taste it, just let the bees collect the nectar. It grows in nice clusters with thousands of blooms.

Milkweed is another sustainer. I think this gem of a plant is one of the most interesting blooms in late June. It attracts many pollinators with some so small they are hard to see (find the one above). Larger bees cross-pollinate milkweed in the most interesting way by removing the sticky pollinium sacs and moving them to another plant. You can watch the entire process but be prepared because the pollinia are so sticky that a bee can get stuck on the plant and die.

At the end of June, the next promised bloom is the unreliable basswood. A beekeepers dream when the fragile blooms hold, and a letdown otherwise. Let's hope for the best.

Take care of your bees.

Bill Hesbach