Monthly Archives: May 2010

A close look at tulip poplar flowers

Yesterday, I noticed that there was a nice tree with many flowers low enough next to the MSU Dairy Store. Normally these trees are so tall that you would need a ladder to see their flowers at the right direction, but I did not have my camera.

So this morning I went back to take a closer look and see if I can find a honey bee foraging there. I saw a bald faced hornet hovering around (probably trying to catch other insects), a milkweed bug, but no honey bees! There was so much nectar it was flowing on the sepal to the ground. I saw stains on the concrete and realized it was the nectar rain that did it! But with so much nectar, why no honey bees? My apiary at College and Jolly would be too far away (4.5 miles) but there was a feral colony in the Beal Botanic Garden (not sure if it survived or not). But I know some honey bees are foraging in the MSU campus because I saw a honey bee foraging on plum flowers about 2 months ago (I did not get that bee in my photos!). In fact, not a whole lot of other insects either… puzzling…

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), a tree in the family of Magnoliaceae, is supposed to be a good source for honey production.

1. I took a picture of  a black locust tree also since I had to bring my camera. The bloom was near the end, with petals falling.

2. Beautiful flowers on the Tulip poplar

3. A closeup of petals to show the nectar (glistening drops).

4. Can you see the drop of nectar almost ready to flow down?

5. Closeup of a drop of nectar

6. Could not help but to see if it tastes sweet or not. Yes!

7. Nectar would flow from the petal to sepal and then to the concrete ground, forming these spots. I know it must be the nectar because the spots are only under the tree.

8. The only bug I caught, a milkweed bug.