Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Sorrel

A red weedy looking plant popped up in my new beeyard a week or two ago, the kind of plant that looks to my eye like something I’d see in the woods in a clearing alongside an old logging road.

Honey bee on sorrel (June 27, 2015).

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

Tiny flowers bloomed on the red weedy plant a couple days ago and today, even though it’s a cold hazy day like it’s been all week, the bees were all over the flowers.

Honey bee collecting sorrel pollen in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

Honey bee collecting sorrel pollen in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

I was informed today that the plant is called Sorrel and the leaves are edible, kind of the tangy side, though not so delectable for humans once they’ve gone to seed. (It’s also possible to grow it.)

Honey bee in sorrel (June 27, 2015).

Honey bee in sorrel in Flatrock, NL (June 27, 2015).

Whatever is going on, the bees seem to appreciate the sorrel as a source of pollen. Here’s a video I shot on my phone and my regular camera to prove it:

It’s a boring video for normal people, but beekeepers who pay attention to this kind of thing probably don’t meet the definition of normal too often. So be it.


Sorrel in Flatrock, NL.

None of the above photos show what the sorrel really looks like. It doesn’t look like anything. It looks like a low-to-the-ground dirty weed, like this:

Wide shot of sorrel.

Wide shot of sorrel in Flatrock, NL.

2 thoughts on “Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Sorrel

  1. Nice post! As beekeepers, I think we tend to just want to plant the “big honey producers,” but the bees appear to like a real variety of plants.

    I used to have sorrel in my herb garden — used to. It tasted like oxalis to me, so I don’t grow it any more. However, seeing your post, I’m thinking that it might have a place in my garden again (or in just a corner of the yard).

  2. Hi, thanks for this. In the last week or so there has been a shortage of pollen at our location and I’ve been noticing the bees on various “weeds”, trying to scrap together whatever is possible to raise their young. The standouts were narrow-leaf plantain and sorrell. I have however even seen bees on flowering grass if that makes any sense. (Maybe they were just after a drop of water.)

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