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A Win-Win Situation

Bumble bees are nothing if not perseverant.  Prying Bottle Gentian’s (Gentiana andrewsii) petals open is a monumental task, and one that few insects, other than large species of bumble bees, attempt — much less accomplish.  The relationship of bumble bees and Bottle Gentian is an example of a mutualistic association — the bees benefit by having exclusive access to a bountiful and sugary nectar supply as well as pollen, and the plants benefit by attracting “loyal” pollinators that improve the chances for cross pollination.

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9 responses

  1. I notice them prying open my tightly clasped Turtlehead flowers too.

    September 9, 2021 at 8:41 am

  2. Meredeth Allen

    WONDERFUL photo!!

    September 9, 2021 at 9:03 am

  3. What an amazing photo! I love envisioning its head inside there, sipping that sweet nectar.

    September 9, 2021 at 9:08 am

  4. Alice

    I just LOVE this photo! Because lots of flowers are on our deck, it’s so easy & fun to enjoy the Bumbles…I took some photos of them with their heads up Cuphea flowers, many photos & some videos of them on Zinnias, on pretty eggplant flowers…they are also fun to watch in late spring, going up Foxgloves & landing & crawling underneath Andromedas. Hard workers.

    September 9, 2021 at 9:11 am

    • Alice

      …and it’s corbicula are getting full!

      September 9, 2021 at 12:08 pm

  5. Like the others, I love this photo.

    September 9, 2021 at 11:01 am

  6. Absolutely Beautiful/Incredible Shot! Thank You As Usual! 🙂 ❤

    September 9, 2021 at 12:05 pm


    Thankyou, thank you, Sharon, for your blissful garden walk and for the always sharing of family stories. This time- Anna’s…Courage, dear friend. So indeed happy you have such wondrous flora all around you.xxo C

    September 9, 2021 at 12:26 pm

  8. Jon Binhammer

    I think this may be Gentiana clausa, the closed gentian, as you state in your 2017 post on this same species. G. Andrewsii is a midwestern prairie species that has a small, disjunct population in NW VT – it has a bit of fringe on the outer petals, so sometimes called fringe-topped closed gentian. Another NE gentian is the narrow-leaved gentian, but this looks like it has wider leaves.

    September 10, 2021 at 10:05 am

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