ian Plants for Bees , ,

Crocus : Crocus vernus

Plant :  The Crocus is a popular garden plant providing welcome colour on sunny days, from late winter to early summer.  It is a useful source of pollen for early season foragers.   It belongs to the Iridaceae family.  These pretty plants are normally grown in patches and pots and grow to 30 cm high.  Their habitat is normally planted gardens, verges and parks.

Flower : Crocus flowers between February and June.  The flower has 6 petal-like sepals, three stamen and the ovary is inferior.

Pollen : The pollen load of the crocus is orange.  The grain is large and round, approximately 150 um in diameter.  Its apertures are indistinct and irregular.  The surface is granular and the exine is thin.

Rex Sawyer’s book, Pollen Identification for beekeepers is really helpful for understanding the features of pollen.  In Bob Maurer’s book, Practical Microscopy for Beekeepers, he shows some simple techniques for making up pollen slides.  Click here to return to plants for bees index.