Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Fireweed

Fireweed, or Chamerion angustifolium, is a honey bee friendly flower that blossoms usually by the first week of August on the island of Newfoundland. (Click images for a better view.)

Honey bee on Fireweed in Flatrock, Newfoundland (August 11, 2015.)

Honey bee on Fireweed in Flatrock, Newfoundland (August 11, 2015.)


Some parts of the island see Fireweed before others.

Cell phone snapshot of fireweed in Eastport, Newfoundland. (August 9, 2015.)

Cell phone snapshot of fireweed in Eastport, Newfoundland. (August 9, 2015.)



Where I live on the east coast, in Flatrock, the Fireweed began to show up near the end of July, but didn’t blossom until we got our first hit of warm weather in August (July 2015 was cold).

Honey bee on Fireweed in Flatrock, Newfoundland (August 11, 2015.)

Honey bee on Fireweed in Flatrock, Newfoundland (August 11, 2015.)


Fireweed honey is virtually translucent, or diaphanous if you want to get poetic.

Honey bee on Fireweed in Flatrock, Newfoundland (August 11, 2015.)

Honey bee on Fireweed in Flatrock, Newfoundland (August 11, 2015.)


Fireweed honey has a spicy, almost citrus flavour to it, though to my tastebuds, it’s almost flavourless. Or as some would say, delicate. Whatever it is, it provides honey bees, bumblebees, yellow jackets, you name it, a strong supply of nectar and contributes to possibly the most significant honey flow for Newfoundland honey bees. My bees are have shifted into honey-making mode big time.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015: The Fireweed has been drying up for the past week or so. There’s not much left in bloom, just a few stragglers here and there. It seems to have a similar shelf life as the Honey Clover. The height of its bloom was in August, but a blooming date around the first week of August to about the first week of September seems like a fair estimate, at least for this year. Goldenrod began to appear near the end of August. I’ve noticed Japanese Knotweed has begun to blossom in the past few days in scattered places. All these nectar and pollen sources keep overlapping. There’s hardly a nectar dearth for the honey bees around here, though I believe the Japanese Knotweed could be the mark the end.

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