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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus)

I have been very interested this year to begin to become aware of the progression of wildflowers in this area. The early Fawn Lilies, Shooting Stars and Camas are all pretty much gone now and have been replaced by tall grass dotted with the brilliant blue flowers above and to the right. These bright blue flowers were one of the first I ever learned to recognize although I never knew the reason for the nomenclature until today (thanks to Wikipedia). It has a number of common names but the name I was taught was Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus). The reason for the name was that in folklore it was a flower that would be worn in a buttonhole by a bachelor in love. If the flower faded quickly, it meant his love would not last.

I don't know about love but the picture to the right illustrates something which is definitely fading, the honeybee population. That insect digging around in the Bachelor's Button is not a honeybee. It's some kind of bumblebee.
I've not seen a honeybee this year though I've been out photographing flowers almost every sunny day since spring began. Honeybees are disappearing over large parts of North America and Europe and nobody quite knows why. There are some stories on the phenomenon HERE and HERE.

4 comments:

Dean Lewis said...

Wow, beautiful!
Great close-up.

JoJo said...

One of my fave flowers. My mom had them in her garden when I was a kid. Terrible about the honey bees though.

Dean Lewis said...

Thought I saw one single lonely honeybee on the harbour the other day. Along with disappearing frogs, it seems some species are very vulnerable to subtle changes, like canaries in the coal-mine. Frogs, I believe are hyper-sensitive to increased UV rays.

Bibi said...

These caught my eye on the portal. Truly lovely. I've visited Victoria!