Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Alder Bush

I noticed my bees collecting a light-coloured pollen from a flowering tree today that I’ve never noticed before. Here’s a cellphone shot:

A source of pollen for honey bees in Flatrock, Newfoundland on May 25, 2016.

A source of pollen for honey bees in Flatrock, Newfoundland, on May 25, 2016.

The flowers are not juicy and wet like fruit flowers full of nectar. They’re dry and crumbly and the pollen easily floats away like dust with the slightest disturbance, very much like Sorrel pollen.

The unfurled version of the flower in Flatrock, Newfoundland on May 25, 2016.

The unfurled version of the flower in Flatrock, Newfoundland on May 25, 2016.


Anyone who lives in Newfoundland has probably seen this tree many times growing in the ditches by the side of the road. But I don’t know what it is.

It's the tree that has these things growing on it. Come on people, someone ought to know what this is. (May 25, 2016.)

It’s the tree that has these things growing on it. Come on people, someone ought to know what this is. (May 25, 2016.)

I tried to take photos of the bees on the flower but couldn’t manage it easily with my cellphone. This is as good as it gets:

I was shooting blind trying to get a photo of a bee on the flower and this is the best I could get. (May 25, 2016.)

I was shooting blind trying to get a photo of a bee on the flower and this is the best I could get. (May 25, 2016.)

I’ll update this post as soon as I can find someone who can identify the scraggly looking tree or shrub this flower belongs to. Thanks.

UPDATE (the next day): It’s an Alder Bush. Judging from the shriveled appearance of the flower, I’d say it’s only a pollen source for the bees, not nectar, but it’s all good. Another early spring pollen source doesn’t hurt and Alder Bushes are plentiful in a place like Newfoundland.

3 thoughts on “Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Alder Bush

  1. Maybe yellow birch? Pictures look similar. I think the flower is actually called a catkin.

  2. Maples in Pippy Park are also in bloom, if the weather clears up there is currently tons of forage out there for the bee’s. I had read that alders can be a significant source of forage for bee’s in certain areas. Believe it was during one of Palmer’s presentations.

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