Bee Lunch: Poppies are Popping

papaverThere is a shared love between gardeners and bees for poppies and they are a welcome sign that summer is just around the corner.  Poppies are considered an excellent pollen source and their open petals invite bees to come dance in their stamens to collect pollen.  Poppies can be found in most parts of the world and vary from being an annual or perennial depending on the species.  Papaver nudicaule (Iceland poppy – pictured) are usually considered biennials and have blue green foliage and long lasting papery flowers that hold up well during our rainy springs.  The seeds are very fine and can successfully reseed themselves between rocks and in cracks along sidewalks.  Papaver somniferum are bigger bulkier poppies that can survive for years and are also the source of poppy seeds.  Multiple bees can visit these large flowers and depending on the variety may be collecting black pollen.  These poppies generally prefer full sun and well drained soils and will go dormant during our long dry summers only to reappear again in spring.