Spring flower 14: Plum

Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus
Subgenus Prunus

Plum and mei (Chinese plum) and apricot all belong to the same subgenus.

Plums are a favorite fruit of the Chinese people. China’s annual output is 6.6 million tons, accounting for more than half of the world’s total annual output of 12 million tons.  US ranks fourth with an annual output of 390,000 tons.

Plums have a bee dependence index of 70%, which means if there are no bee pollination, there will be a 30% yield due to other insects or self pollination.  I think all plum growers rent bees for pollination. The annual output value of plums in Michigan was $ 310,000 in 2017.

There is an old plum tree in front of my office building (Giltner Hall),  it usually blooming with the cherry blossoms at the same time. Every time I went there to wait for a honey bee to show up so I can take photo, I got nothing.

1. 遥望万花疑是雪,近观千蜂寻蜜来
I thought the flowers were snow  from afar
Getting close I saw bees searching for nectar

The first few photos were taken in Jilin on May 1, 2012.  All trees were tall and I did not have any good closeup.

2.  A cabbage moth also forages on the flowers.

3. An Apis mellifera foraging on plum flowers.

4. The last four photos were plum flowers from the campus (taken on April 20, 2007). Unfortunately, it was a solitary bee, perhaps an andrenid. 

5. A different solitary bee? in flight.

6.  This one definitely different from # 4. I can tell easily if it is not a honey bee, but I am terrible in identifying any non-Apis bees.

7. This looks like the same one as above.

Author: Zachary Huang

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *