ian Plants for Bees , ,

Ivy : Hedera helix

Plant :  Ivy is a woody, evergreen, climbing plan which can colonies the tallest of deciduous trees.  It is a great source of very late forage for honey bees.  Whole trees can be buzzing with bees at the end of the autumn when other forage is scarce.  It can grow on trees, rocks, walls and hedgerows.

Flower : The flower is almost entirely made up of the ovary.  it is small and round in shape and produces a berry type fruit.  The flowers appear in umbels and have 5 small teeth-like sepals, 5 petals and 5 small stamens. It flowers between September and November.

Pollen : The pollen load of ivy is yellow.  The grain is round but can appear triangular, due to its three furrow and pore type apatures.  It is 30 um in size.  The surface is smooth 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.