Oilseed rape

ian Plants for Bees , ,

Oilseed rape : Brassica Napus

Plant : Oilseed rape has become a key feature of the beekeeping calendar and landscape in rural Northumberland.  It is mostly autumn sown in the region, which flowers in early spring.  Honey bees will travel 2 km or more for its nectar and pollen.  Although it is grown as a commercial crop it is common as a weed on roadsides and arable land.  The stems reach a height of 100 cm, with bright yellow flowers appearing on the top sections, which yield a dark 60 mm long seed pod.

Flower : Autumn sown Oilseed rape flowers between March and June.  The flower has four petals, which form the regular crucifix arrangement typical of the family.  There are four shorter sepals, 4 stamens and the ovary is superior..

Pollen : The pollen load of Oilseed rape is yellow.  The grain is round, although the pores can give it a triangular appearance.  It is approximately 27 um across and there are three furrow type apertures.  The surface is pitted and the exine is a medium thickness, with beading.

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