En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 09, 2014

From: Appleton, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pollinators, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Effect on taste of honey from pollen gathered by honeybees in Appleton WI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

in the flower box.. We are planting perennial or self-planting annuals on our fields and open areas to feed honey bees for our apiary. We found a source and then lost it telling what effect these wildflowers have on the quality of honey..color, tendency to crystallize, taste, etc. Could you please recommend another source to provide these answers? For instance, honeybees love sunflowers, but they tend to make honey crystallize and taste strong. We don't want to plant a lot of perennials and then find out they hurt honey production. Thanks!

ANSWER:

This is somewhat out of our range of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, maintains a Native Plant Database. We are committed to recommending plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. The webpage on each plant in that database includes where that plant is native, what its moisture, soil and sunlight needs are and, in many cases, what are the pollinators of that plant. What it does not include (if the plant produces pollen attractive to honeybees) is what flavor honey will result from that pollen.

So, since we obviously can't help you, we are going to hunt for some beekeepers associations or information about this process. You can then access our Native Plant Database and locate plants that you have found in your research and determine if they are native to your area, which will usually mean they can tolerate your soils and climate in Outgamie, Calumet and Winnebago Counties in east central Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection - Bees and Honey. This site has a number of other useful links on the subject.

Honey Bee Ware

YouTube on Beekeeping in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Beekeeping Associations

From the Xerces Society, Upper Midwest Native Plants for Bees. On Page 2 of this site, you will find a list of native plants under "Choosing the Right Flower" from which we chose the list of plants below.

To further assist you, we are going to select some plants native to Wisconsin that are pollinated by bees, listed as "of special value to bees," perennial and show on the USDA Plant Profile Map for that plant as being native to your area:

Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine)

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed)

Physostegia virginiana (Fall obedient plant)

Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon)

Salix eriocephala (Missouri river willow)

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata

Fall obedient plant
Physostegia virginiana

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Missouri river willow
Salix eriocephala

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Moving School House lilies in Austin
March 02, 2009 - I live here in Austin in zipcode 78729. I have a clump of School House lilies in the back of the garden. I would like to move them to another bed under a tree. Is this a good time to move them? Should...
view the full question and answer

Removing fading blooms from iris
June 19, 2007 - Iris maintenance: when blooms begin to fade do I pluck off just the bloom? cut off the entire stalk? leave it alone? Some blooms grow on stalks without leaves and some on stalks with leaves.
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Sources for Eustoma exaltatum (Texas bluebells)
October 01, 2015 - Could you list sources for seeds for eustoma (texas bluebells)?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center