Saturday, April 11, 2009

Blooming Saltcedar

While driving home the other day, we saw this spectacular saltcedar in bloom. So we stopped the car and took a few pictures. Saltcedars are widely variable in their blooming pattern -- some are deep pink, as this one is. Most are light pink, and rarely they can be almost white. Some flower spikes are upright, some are pendulous. This specimen could be propagated and sold as an ornamental.

Here's a bee working the saltcedar flowers. Each flower spike contains dozens of florets, just the right size for a bee. Bees don't store much of a surplus from the early (April) bloom, since the colonies are still building up to full strength, and use the honey for brood-rearing. But they can store quite a bit of surplus from the main bloom, which happens in May-June. The saltcedars continue to bloom sporadically throughout the summer, and hives in favored locations can store saltcedar honey until the end of August. Saltcedar honey has a strong flavor that has its aficionados, although most people prefer milder honeys such as mesquite.

Here's another close-up, minus the bee.


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