Plants in bloom

I have created a list for Michigan many years ago and never quite finished it with links to photos etc.


Early May: apples, cherries were 2-3 weeks ahead of usual this year (2010).

15: Blueberry (Vaccinium spp, Ericaceae) were also 2 weeks ahead this year.

26: Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia, Fabaceae) has been blooming for about one week. Very good flowers this year. Not sure if it is “flowing” with nectar.

Tulip popular (Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnoliaceae) is in full bloom at MSU campus today. Did not see bees but I could use my finger to touch the dried up nectar as there were so much there. It tasted sweet. Zach

27: I went back today and took some pics of the tulip poplar tree, but about 15 min, no honey bees.

White Dutch clovers (Trifolium repens, Fabaceae) have been blooming for at least 2 weeks.

Iris blooming everywhere, most iris do not attract bees, but I did see bees foraging on them, once in Beijing, China, and once in Okemos, Michigan.

here is a photo to prove my point 🙂


13: Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) begins to bloom in south central Michigan.  I am unsure as to the benefits of this for honey bees.  (posted by Steve Tilmann)

Please report which bee plants are blooming in your area (with both common name, Latin name, if possible), if it is not mentioned here.

18 comments to Plants in bloom

  • June 3, 2010 – My bees are enthusiastically working the asparagus patch. Their pollen baskets are stuffed with a bright orange pollen. I tried taking a picture but have neither the equipment nor patience as Zach. Bumble bees are also working the asparagus blossoms.(Central Eaton County, Michigan)

  • Zachary Huang

    I was on my way to the MSUFCU today, and saw white privet (Ligustrum, Oleaceae) blooming…very strong smell which can be unpleasant…I have seen bees loving it. Today only saw one bumble bee working on it. Japanese spirea (Roseaceae) also blooming. again only one bumble bee working on it. I had these in my back yard and rarely see honey bees, but quite often bumble bees. Not sure if bumble bees are not as picky?

    I have proposals due June 10th, but flying to China on June 5th…

  • Zachary Huang

    I think I saw Catalpa blooming (Bignoniaceae) yesterday..I have seen bees foraging on these beautiful flowers.

  • Zachary Huang

    just found a cool site…it lists bee plants by state:
    for MI:

  • Blaine Johnston

    I am in Mount Pleasant (CMU) we have: Yellow blossem sweet clover (just started), red clover, alsike clover, ladino clover,raspberries and autumn olive, seems to be a great year for the bees! 06-06-2010

  • June 12, 2010. The Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)has started to bloom in central Eaton County (south central Michigan). They probably started blooming around June 9 or 10, but I first noticed them yesterday. A very showy tree with blossoms that remind one of orchids. References state this tree is a good nectar source with a nectary located in the flower and at the base of the leaf stem where it attaches to the branch. I have been unable to locate a more rigorous statement of its honey potential in my home references. Easily identifed by its large (8″ to 12″) heart-shaped leaf (smooth edge). Probably the largest leaf of any trees found in Michigan. When in bloom, the tree from a short distance looks like it is covered in popcorn.

  • I was gone to China (June 5-26), and missed most of the basswood here. Still a few flowers though, although most are seeds already.

  • Doug Krepps

    Spotted knapweed (centaurea maculosa) almost finished blooming.
    Field thistle (cirsium discolor) will start any day now.
    Queen anne’s lace (daucus carota) just started bloom.

  • Pietrantonio

    Hi I am Pietrantonio Costrini, typing from Italy. I am pashionated in beekeeping in Italy. For the nex six months I will be in East Lansing at Michigan State University and I would Practince beekeeping during weekends. Is there anybody needing help? I don’t need salary I come for free.

  • Zachary Huang

    Sophora japonica (they call it Chinese locust in China) almost past peak bloom here. usually lots of bees on it. It is a large tree in the legume family.

  • Hygrangea paniculata is in full bloom…lots of honey bees, wasps, bumble bees on it. Saw a similar species in NC at EAS, but slight different (all fertile flowers are hidden inside with sterile ones covering them, so bees have to go inside making it difficult to photograph).

    Mountain mint has blooming for a while.

    bees also working on a hibiscus in my garden.

    the beebee tree at MSU should be blooming soon (if not already so, I have not checked it for a while). A couple of years ago, it was blooming August 21st. It would be humming with honey bees when in bloom. the tree is to the west side of the MSU Art Museum Entrance. ** When I checked August 20th, there are already seeds! they must bloomed 3 weeks early this year…(like very thing else).

  • Doug Krepps

    Goldenrod (solidago canadensis) looks like we are at about 30-40% blooming right now in Saint Johns area. Some of the younger/smaller plants are wilted from the lack of moisture.

  • Nice to see all the flowers from downstate. For a much delayed blooming schedule check out my website for what is happening in my part of the Upper Peninsula

  • In mid June, here in Genesee County, I am seeing my entire lawn filled with white clove. The bees are loving them.

  • Gladys Chandler

    I have an evergreen tree that is infested with some type of black worm, encased with a tree like cocoon. The bees are feasting on them. What is this and how do I get rid of them? They have killed my beautiful tree. HELP

  • Stephen Tilmann

    We doubt that honey bees are feeding on the cocoons. Honey bees feed on nectar and pollen. It could be yellow jackets, wasps or some other type of wasp. You might want to take a sample of the worm to your local extension office and see if they can identify the critter.
    Steve Tilmann, Treasurer
    Michigan Beekeepers’ Association

  • Ben Brown

    In one of my beeyards they were covering the stonecrop bloom in the latter half of the afternoon last week. This has been going on almost two weeks that we noticed. They weren’t bringing in pollen I could see, so I’m guessing they were getting nectar. I’m hoping the cool weather doesn’t end this.

    I just noticed this area on the website. I’ve been trying to take photos and chart the bloom coverage and time since late July here in Kalamazoo.. I wish I had started doing this sooner. Next year…

  • Elena

    Until a few days ago I noticed MANY bees in my garden, collecting nectar. A rare sight in the past few years. But all of a sudden they appeared this year. I left my 6 acres natural specially for them and life in general. I can’t wait to keep bees. I plant many flowers for wildlife.
    Right now, even with colder weather, many flowers are blooming and I see insects daily.

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