bee forage

Bees on Eryngium

The photo below came from Trent Amonett of Pullman, Washington. He writes:

I took the attached photo this last weekend. We’re in the dearth here in Pullman, and my bees are visiting food sources in my yard, which they normally don’t do. The thistle is a perennial that came with the house. I came close to pulling it the first spring after we moved in until it turned a pretty silvery blue and I realized it wasn’t a weed. Anyway, I like the photo a lot, and everyone I’ve shown it to so far has been more interested in the thistles when to me it’s about the bees.

Update: Thanks to all the folks who correctly identified this plant as Sea Holly, Eryngium planum.

Honey bees on thistle. © Trent B. Amonett.

Honey bees on thistle. © Trent B. Amonett.


  • Flowers or bees…hmmm, that’s a tough call. The petals are so feathery-looking and such a pretty color. Nice that you got 3 bees together – maybe they’re there because they’re not from your hive! The grass is always greener in the other fellow’s yard. Thanks for sharing, Trent.

  • This is ERYNGIUM-Sea Holly. A great bee plant along with ECHINOPS-Globe Thistle, which is flowering in my garden now. Have to get a photo……

  • Pleased your thistle is working so well. Have some in a swampy area. The bees work the willows there early. Last year, we planted our sprouting onions in the garden in the late summer/fall just because. As we speak (so to speak) the onions we planted last fall are in full bloom and are beeing (pun intended) savaged by the honey bees. Seems they love onion blossoms when all around is dry, sere and dead. The local Coastal Farm Supply has onion starts left over from the spring at 50 cents a hundred. Next week we will be putting onions in a 4 by 8 foot raised bed for NEXT year’s blossoms. Blossoms in July and August are precious, onions at any time are cheap. Still lots of dandelion blossoms here in southern Oregon. The neighbors are apoplectic that we don’t mow em down. Bee well.

  • Interesting. We still have some blackberries blooming on the hill in our woods here near McMinnville & I haven’t seen much action on the thistles. That looks different from our thistles. I’ll have to take a closer look.

    • On our thistles up here I seldom see honey bees, but I see lots of bumble bees and Melissodes (long-horned bees).

  • I am planting those thistles for the future for my bees. Right now, July 18, after the blackberry bloom, the chicory blooms are very abundant and have been for a while, but only in the a.m. I am in northwestern California near the Oregon border, zone 8. Thank you so much for your blog.


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