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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.

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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.

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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!

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Saturday - January 31, 2015

From: RICEVILLE, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pollinators, Wildlife Gardens, Trees
Title: Is Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) a major nectar source for honeybees?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is the Sweetbay Magnolia a major nectar source for honeybees?

ANSWER:

The Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) doesn't appear on our list of Special Value to Honey Bees, Special Value to Native Bees or Special Value to Bumble Bees from the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.  Indeed, on the species page under "Benefits" its Wildlife Use is listed as very low.   Its nectar is listed as taken by moths and beetles.  That doesn't mean that honey bees don't visit it, but it doesn't appear to be a major nectar source for honeybees—or any bees for that matter.   If you are looking for a tree that will be a major source for honeybees, visit our page for Special Value to Honey Bees and use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option in the left sidebar and select "Tennessee" from the Select State or Province slot and "Tree" from General Appearance slot.  You will find a list of 46 trees that grow in Tennessee that are major nectar sources for honeybees.

 

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