Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Dogberry

Another honey bee friendly flower that grows abundantly on the island of Newfoundland is Showy Mountain Ash, Sorbus decora, or as it’s commonly known, Dogberry.

Dogberry blossoms in St. John's, NL (June 23, 2015).

Dogberry blossoms in St. John’s, NL (June 23, 2015).

Again, a big reminder to wannabe beekeepers in St. John’s that your honey bees would be all over these flowers, collecting pollen and sucking up nectar to make their honey. There is no shortage of nectar for honey bees in St. John’s.

Honey bee landing on Dogberry blossoms in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

Honey bee landing on Dogberry blossoms in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

These blossoms turn into hard bunches of bright red berries that stay on the trees well into winter and provide a food source for wintering birds.

Honey bees in a Dogberry tree (June 27, 2015).

Honey bees in a Dogberry tree (June 27, 2015).

Although the berries can be used for jams and preserves, they taste like dog, bitter and nasty. That’s probably why most birds ignore them until they absolutely have no choice but to eat them in the winter.

Honey bee on Dogberry blossoms in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

Honey bee on Dogberry blossoms in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

JULY 30, 2015: I noticed the flowers of the dogberry tree are similar to False Spiraea, but on closer examination of the leaves in the photos, it’s clear they’re not the same. At least I don’t think so.

AUGUST 31, 2015: Here’s a cell phone photo of the berry, not fully ripe yet.

Dogberries (not quite ripe yet) in St. John's, Newfoundland (August 31, 2015.)

Dogberries (not quite ripe yet) in St. John’s, Newfoundland (August 31, 2015.)

NOVEMBER 22, 2015: Here’s what they look like when they’re red.

Out of focus cell phone photo of ripe red Dogberries in Flatrock, Newfoundland (November 22, 2015.)

Out of focus cell phone photo of ripe red Dogberries in Flatrock, Newfoundland (November 22, 2015.)

The berries usually stay on the trees in large bunches throughout the winter. Most of the berries on this particular tree next to my house were picked off by a flock of small grey birds one day. I’ve never seen that happen before.

One thought on “Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Dogberry

  1. Great shots, I have always thought the Dogberry Tree was a great addition to anyone’s garden. The put on a show every season. I am still waiting for my Bee’s, looks like it will be mid July…

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