Summer flower 2: Everlasting peace [peas]

SpeciesL. sylvestris

Photos were taken July 10th, 2010.  The patch was right before one takes the ramp to I-96 West from Okemos Road. I saw a big patch of red flowers once and wondered what they were. They were beautiful seeing from the car (I wonder if they were planted or not, since I did not see this wild anywhere else).  So on my way back from Detroit, on July 10th, I parked my car and got down there and started shooting bees.

I saw many types of bees foraging there (bumble bees, resin bees, honey bees). The flowers appear to be a type of pea with large flowers, either in red or in white (much fewer). Prof. George Ayers (Professor Emeritus here) identified it as Lathyrus sylvestris, everlasting pea.

1. I now think this would be a carpenter bee (Xylocopa, Apidae). It is difficult to tell from a bumble bee, but I think in July no queens are foraging (as a bee this size if it is a bumblebee).

2. This was a resin bee ( Megachile sculpturalis, Megachilidae), in the leafcutter bee family. If I were in China, this bee would be very easily mistaken as a giant honey bee (Apis dorsata), if in flight. Both are slender and have smoky wings.

3. OK, finally honey bees. One on white flowers. The white flowers were more rare.

4. One on red. Red was very common.

I also saw several other patches years later. One was near the MSU Hort Farm, right near the front gate, in 2017. I have then seen ones on Grand River in Okemos. They would appear as a huge patch, only to appear again in another location the next year.

5. What a long patch! This was taken June 27, 2017.

6. I used my cell phone that day to get a few honey bees.

7. This bee was behind a pinkish flower.

ZBAS* = Zach’s Bee Attraction Score. A subjective scale (0-10) from Zach’s personal experience.

Finally, A poem I wrote for the peas, originally in Chinese, translated on June 28, 2018.

Wild peas

You grow by the roadside
So more people
could see your beauty
And your pride

No one to get rid of weeds for you
Because you are one yourself
Nobody fertilizes you
Still, your pink so lovely
Your red so foxy

As long as there come the bees
You have done your deeds
Because they got your nectar
You will get your seeds

The birds will take you to
The next unmanned place
You will still be
Silently showing your beauty
Unrestrainedly blooming

Thank you.

Posted July 21, 2010
Updated June 29, 2020

Author: Zachary Huang

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