Heaven Can Wait

Sep 29, 2008

They danced in it, rolled in it, and bathed in it.

The honey bees just couldn’t get enough of the rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora). 

Last week when we visited Vacaville’s El Rancho Nursery and Landscaping. nursery, owned by Ray and Maria Lopez,  it was like a free-for-all at the French Laundry. The bees clustered around the rock purslane flowers, waiting inpatiently for them to open. No sign read  "Closed" but some of the magenta flowers had not yet unfolded.  No matter. A robost honey bee tried to slip inside. What do you mean, I'm too big?

Nearby, two other bees, sisters in honeyhood, shared the same flower as another honey bee tumbled happily out of her flower and made a beeline for the next one. 


Ernesto Sandoval, curator of the College of Biological Sciences Greenhouses at UC Davis and Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, say that bees love Calandrinia grandiflora. The plant, native to Chile, blooms here in late summer and early fall.


"It has has bright red-orange pollen that honey bees love," Thorp said.

They do, indeed.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

A honey bee can't wait for the Calandrinia grandiflora to open. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

What do you mean, I'm too big?

Two honey bees, packed with red pollen,  share the same flower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


A honey bee exits the rock purslane flower and heads for another one. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Flight of the honey bee