Echium - A Great Bee Flower?
According to the Melissa Garden's list of good flowers for bees, Echium ranks up there in the top five, and is said to produce a tremendous amount of honey per acre.
The Viper's Bugloss, or "Blue Bedder" variety is said to be all over North America - often seen as an invasive weed, whose origin is the Canary Islands. There are other varieties which grow towering 'spikes' of flowers in a variety of colours, but the Viper's Bugloss plant is blue/pink, prickly, only 2-3 feet tall and grows in ditches and dry places.
Do any of you have experience with varieties of Echium? If so, what are your observations?
Re: Echium - A Great Bee Flower?
It's too wet and humid for it to gorw well in most of the eastern/central US. Here's some info I found on it that may be of interest.
The most unusual feature of Echium vulgare is the protection of the nectar inside the flower from vaporization (when it’s hot) or flushing away (when it rains). It is why almost for 2 months this plant is a stable source of nectar for bees. Additionally this plant produces nectar throughout the day unlike most plants which produce nectar for a short period of time. If the bees have a good access to Echium they can collect between 12-20 lbs of nectar a day. The concentration of sugars in the nectar vary 22.6-48.3% depending on the quality of the soil, and not on the amount of rain. The honey is light amber in color and ver y fragrant with a pleasant taste, and does not crystallize for 9–15 months.
300 - 1,000 pounds honey/acre depending on soil. 500-2000 lbs of dark blue pollen.