Monday, August 29, 2016

browsing through goldenrod

browsing through goldenrod 
blossoms a honeybee bearing
nectar and pollen

My neighbor's honeybees are working the goldenrod in our meadow. One wafts lazily from one golden panicle to another. Landing, she clambers among the multitude of tiny blossoms, probing for nectar, and inadvertently collecting a thick roll of pollen on her hind legs. There are so many varieties of goldenrod. This one appears to be Showy goldenrod, with smooth leaves and a pyramidal inflorescence. An Illustrated Guide to Iowa Prairie Plants indicates seven varieties of Solidago just in Iowa: Missouri, Tall or Canada, Showy, Smooth, Field, Stiff, Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved, and Riddell's or Narrow-leaved goldenrod. Some goldenrod plants a few feet away have toothed leaves. They're all pollinated by bees and wasps, so cross-pollination can result in natural hybrids. Clever way to create new varieties.

While watching the bees, I notice one of the blossoms wiggling. Only one. Peering closer, I detect a tiny worm, covered in goldenrod petals, weaving its head. If you look closely, you can see it in the middle of the photo, slightly duller than the surrounding flowers. I wonder, is the petal costume just an accident or is it using the petals as camouflage? Accidental or purposeful, it sure fools the eye!

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