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Coltsfoot Flowers A Welcome Source of Nectar for Bees

4-25-14  coltsfoot 125Even though they are not rare and they are not especially known for their beauty, the dandelion-like flowers of Coltsfoot beckon like no others. To humans, the brilliant yellow petals of this member of the Aster family are a bright beacon in the relatively drab brown world revealed after the snow melts. But they are an even more compelling sight for bees at this time of year, for these flowers are a very early source of nectar in the spring, when there are few other wildflowers blooming.

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8 responses

  1. Suzanne

    It’s nice to know this. I see them along the crummiest edges of our dirt road – places I think of as hospitable to Japanese knotweed, etc. And they are such a welcome splash of color before anything else is out. I’ve never seen bees on them though, and maybe the bees just aren’t cruising this way or there aren’t enough here. I’m just heartbroken about the plight of honeybees (ex-beekeeper) — I so miss their being around and fret over the big implications every day. Remember when the meadows used to vibrate w/ their presence? Suzanne

    Sent from my iPad


    April 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

    • I share your concern about honeybees, Suzanne.

      April 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

  2. Nice photo. Coltsfoot is a good nectar source in Europe, but it’s invasive in parts of the US, including ME, CT, and some states further south. Probably only a matter of time before it makes the invasive species lists for the rest of New England.

    April 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  3. joan waltermire

    I’ve been concerned about coltsfoot’s invasive potential for a few years and have wondered if it’s just my curmodgeonly nature speaking, so I’m interested to hear Janet’s comment. I didn’t know it was considered invasive elsewhere in New England — my concern has been that I see it migrating away from roadsides, quite far up seeps and in good shade. I made a tentative effort to control it once, and it looks pretty impossible, as it has a dense and tangled network of rhizomes.

    April 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    • I’ve read that it’s almost impossible to control once it’s established, due to those rhizomes…short of chemical treatment, which I don’t endorse. I guess the answer is to nip it in the bud, so to speak.

      April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm

  4. Dean and Susan Greenberg

    I’d be surprised to see native honeybees on this non-native invasive plant. For 2 years we participated in the bumblebee survey and never saw one on coltsfoot.

    April 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

  5. Alonso

    Very interesting spring flower, however it should be noted that not only is it non-native, but is often considered invasive and should be removed throughout most of its naturalized range in North America, including in Connecticut: Just FYI so it doesn’t encourage people to want it around or worse, plant it instead of a native plant. Just FYI again.

    April 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    • Yes, several people have brought my attention to coltsfoot’s invasive nature — thank you so much for being one of them!

      April 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

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