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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bright Purple Pollen

This morning, a bee zipped into the hive carrying a load of purple -- bright purple, almost fuschia -- pollen. Wow! That's a color I've never seen before!

Dying to solve this mystery, I did some sleuthing. I checked various pollen charts to no avail. Then someone from BeeSource.com sent me a link to some really nice pollen charts by Eversweet Apiaries in WV. The closest color is the palm-leaf marshmallow or teasel.

Eversweet Apiaries Fall & Winter chart.
They also have charts for spring and summer.
I first read up on palm-leaf marshmallow. It seems an unlikely candidate given that it's not native to the US, and I find no mention of it listed as an invasive species. It's a rather pretty flower, though, in the Malvacaea family, so it might have been deliberately planted in a garden.

Althaea cannabina (Palm-leaf marshmallow)

Next, I researched teasel. Again, not a native plant. It is indigenous to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. though. Nuts. Lots of interesting stuff, though, about this plant being used to raise the nap on fabric.

It looked like I had struck out again, but then wait! I found a note about this being an invasive species in the U.S.! Could the mystery be solved?

Dipsacus fullonum (Fuller's teasel)

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