Crown Vetch

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Securigera
Species: S. varia
Common names: Crown vetch
ZBAS* Honey bees 3, bumble bees 8

This flower is actually quite pretty.  They remind me of my home town’s Chinese milkvetch which has the same shape of flowers but is a bit more red.  It grows here by the road side and along the highway. This plant is endemic in Asia and Europe and was introduced to the US for erosion control. It grows well in poor soil but does not like shade. In many states now it is considered invasive because it forms large patches of itself excluding other plants. Because its nitroglucosides, it is toxic to none-ruminant animals such as horses, but not toxic to ruminants like cows, sheep and goats. So it can be used as hay for these later animals.  It blooms in Michigan most of the summer, it has been blooming for at least a month.

1. I was checking bees for a friend June 21, 2018 and found this large patch of crown vetch by roadside in Okemos. I counted about 10 bumble bees but no honey bees. So that is why I have two ZBAS for the two different bees. This is most likely honey bees’ tongue (proboscis) is too short.

2. A cell phone photo of a bumble bee in flight.  It looks like a queen? This is a bit strange since it is too late for the initial founding queen to be foraging and a bit too early for the new queens. I thought new queens are not produced till late August.  So I am confused.

4. An old photo taken a while back. A bit like white clover in shape also.

5. Shot on July 4th, 2015. I shot about 2 hours, mostly for bird’s foot trefoil and this flower.

7. The pollen is also dark grey, like white clover’s pollen.

8. I guess bees were too fast on these flowers and I never had a great photo.

9. Nothing that is good enough for a cover anyway.

10. This bumble bee might be good enough for a cover?

ZBAS*: Zach’s Bee Attractiveness Score, this is not supposed to be scientific but just based on my many years of observation and bee-shooting with my cameras. It might vary with location and season.  0: bees will never visit. 10: bees are crazy for it.

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