Posts Tagged: rock purslane
Caught between a rock and a...soft place...
You'll often see tiny sweat bees nectaring rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) in urban gardens. This plant, a native of Chile, brightens landscapes with its pinkish magenta blossoms.You probably wouldn't wear this color if you were in the federal witness protection program. It shouts "Look at me!"
The old saying that "it's so loud it could stop traffic" applies here.
It certainly stops insect traffic. (The lure, though, is the pollen, not the color.)
Last week we watched a tiny female sweat bee (Halictus tripartitus) nectaring the rock purslane.
Then she crawled to the lip of the flower, peered at her surroundings, and took flight.
Ready to Fly
Thunder boomed across the garden.
The carpenter bee (Xylocopata tabaniformis orpifex) meant business.
She headed straight for the slowly opening rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora). Never mind that the petals hadn't quite unfolded.
Tackling the tiny pink blossom, she sipped her fill of nectar, and then, with another thunderous roar, vanished.
No wonder large, loud carpenter bees scare little children.
Pollen-Covered Carpenter Bee
The rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) attracts its share of insects.
This morning the brilliant magenta blossoms drew honey bees, carpenter bees and hover flies.
As a hover fly (aka syrphid fly or flower fly) gathered nectar, a spider crawled up a leaf of the succulent, presumably to check out the best place to weave a web.
The rock purslane is drought-tolerant and a good plant for xeroscaping.
And perfect for attracting pollinators--and an occasional spider.
The rain and wind took turns destroying the flowers in our garden last Sunday in a siege not unlike a scene from The Wrestler.
The rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) took a beating, but like Mickey Rourke, it will return.
Last year the blossoms drew honey bees, native bees and hover flies--and, one spotted cucumber beetle.
The blossoms were simply gorgeous. With the warmth of the morning sun, the magenta petals peeked open and then unfolded to the tune of Vivaldi's Spring. Or maybe it just seemed like it.
This is a perennial that welcomes all visitors. "When you're here, you're family." Roll out the magenta carpet. No guest list. No engraved invitation. No RSVP.
And no gift for the hostess.
The visitors ARE the gift.
Visitor in the garden
Twenty-nine days to go.
If you love bees and know how to design a bee friendly garden, remember Jan. 30.
Jan. 30 is the deadline to submit your design for the half-acre bee friendly garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. The nationwide competition is funded by Häagen-Dazs.
This will be a pollinator paradise that will meet the nutritional needs of honey bees and serve as a living laboratory.
"It will provide a much needed, year-around food source for our bees," said Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. "We anticipate it also will be a gathering place to inform and educate the public about bees."
The UC Davis Department of Entomology Web site lists the rules, the prizes, and provides a list of bee-favorite flowering plants. Plans call for "something" to be blooming throughout the year.
The long list of flowering plants includes sages, toyon, catmint and lavender.
To that I'd add the rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora). In our own bee friendly garden, that's a favorite of the bees. And guess what? It's blooming right now, in the dead of winter. Ray Lopez, owner of El Rancho Nursery, Vacaville (where we bought the plant), says it blooms throughout the year in California.
We haven't seen the bees lately, but the rock purslane is waiting for them.
Close-up of Bee