Rocky Mountain Bee Plant: Cleome serrulata was a wonderful late blooming wildflower near us this year. It drew numerous species of bees, and butterflies, from near and far and always had visitors when in bloom providing pollinators with a generous sip of nectar.
Growing up to 4 ft tall Bee Plant stands out in the fields of tall fall grasses.A beautiful and very sculptural wildflower Bee Plant is fun to photograph as well.
According to the USDA “Cleome serrulata is an important cultural plant for many Southwestern Indian tribes. The young, tender shoots and leaves are good sources of vitamin A and calcium. In the past they were used as potherbs or medicinally as teas for fevers and other ailments. The seeds were ground and used to make gruel or bread. The Navajo still use the plant as a source of yellow-green dye for their beautiful wool rugs and blankets. Many pueblo tribes use a concentrated form of dye, made from boiling the plant into a thick black resin, to paint designs on pottery or for decorating their baskets.”
On this particular afternoon the little green sweat bees were enjoying the plant to no end.
Every flower seems to have a visitor.
And one last look as even the bee fly mimics got in on the action.
5 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain Bee Plant: Cleome serrulata”
What an exciting photo find. Love those little green bees! Coincidentally, I was just reading about this species of Cleome only yesterday. Sounds like it has a lot of positive attributes, more so than the commonly grown C. hassleriana. Great post!
Hi eliza, we know the pollinators really go for it and a variety of bees, moths, butterflies and flies swarm it on sunny afternoons. It nice to have in the fields of grasses around our home.
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I did not know all of this about cleome. I just thought it stank in flower arrangements, and thus have avoided it. I bet it’s gorgeous to see in a big meadow, though, and obviously attrat=ctive to the pollinators.
Yes it is very attractive to pollinators and I think the stink is especially attractive to bees. It is a very interesting plant to have out in the fields.
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Hi there… I love your photos, they’re beautiful! I put together a bee journal in BC Canada, and wondered if we could use one of them to go with an article about this flower? Let me know if that would be ok.