Weeds of Wednesday: Bees & Butterflies Love Beggarticks

At the entrance to the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, now flourishes a big “bush” of beggarticks (Bidens alba). Yes, this plant is weedy and hitchhikes its way around via its 2-toothed seeds that give rise to its species name, Bidens:  Bi = 2,  dens = teeth (Think dentures).

Annoying as it is to get the seeds stuck in your clothes or your hair, you may wish to re-consider the reflex response to pluck up this “weed”. As I watched for far less than a minute before rain ran me off, two pollinators came to visit yesterday including a shiny southern carpenter bee (Xylocopa micans)

… and a tiny, tiny butterfly, the little yellow butterfly (Pyrisitia lisa) …

Also known as the little sulphur (or sulfur) butterfly, this tropical butterfly is about an inch across and can be found throughout much of the U.S. in the summer months. For ID, note the two tiny black dots at the base of its hindwing and the pinkish spot at its apex.

Flowers in the daisy (Asteracae) family, like beggarticks, are its preferred nectar source. Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) is a favored host plant and abundant along Oslo Road throughout the year. Below a bumblebee buzz pollinates a partridge pea flower with ripe and unripe pods evident …

When you “weed” and when you plant, remember the bees and the butterflies and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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