Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A tiny bee

with 30 comments

Strangely, this tiny bee didn’t leave the Texas stork’s bill (Erodium texanum) even when I handled the flower. To give you a sense of scale, I’ll add that flowers of this species are about one inch across (for the metrically minded, that’s 2.5 cm). If you’d like a closer look at the unbothered bee, click the icon below. The date was April 1st, Easter Sunday, and the place was Yaupon Dr. in my extended neighborhood.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 16, 2018 at 5:01 AM

30 Responses

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  1. The color’s lovely and the bee is cute, but those grains of pollen are a knockout. They’re obvious even in the large photo, but they really shine in the small.

    I don’t remember seeing such round pollen before, and it made me curious: does each plant produce pollen in a different shape? Or are there certain shapes associated with different genera? All it took was a quick image search to find these microscopic views of pollen grains. I’m not sure how I’ve missed knowing this, but my goodness!


    April 16, 2018 at 7:11 AM

    • The visual answer that you found for your question is a good example of how the invention of the microscope hugely changed some of the ways in which people had traditionally conceived the world. I was going to say that we’re used to those insights now, and of course we are used to many of them, even as new ones keep coming to light.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2018 at 7:40 AM

  2. I was going to say the same thing as Shoreacres. Never thought of the pollen as so round. The photo shows how valuable bees are in spreading pollen as it clings to their bodies. The stork’s bill is radiant!

    Dianne Lethcoe

    April 16, 2018 at 7:20 AM

    • And this is also a good example to show that for eons before Europeans brought honeybees (Apis mellifera) to the Americas, native bees and many other insects were doing the pollination—as they still are.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2018 at 7:51 AM

      • Thank you for saying so. Bees are nice in the garden, but are not as necessary as some insist they are. We actually have ‘environmentalists’ here who want to protect the invasive and exotic acacia and eucalyptus trees because the pollinators like them; but so many of the native flora is not being pollinated because the pollinators have found other more interesting hosts. (sorry about the rant.)


        April 16, 2018 at 1:15 PM

        • To the best of my ability I avoid photographing non-native species. That means I sometimes have to shake a plant to temporarily get rid of the honeybees so I can quickly take some pictures. Texas has lots of species of native bees, and of course those are allowed to stay in my pictures.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 16, 2018 at 3:49 PM

          • Oh, I would not have thought of the honeybees as interfering with a picture of a native wildflower. We have a native snail here, and even though they can damage things, we are happy to find them. The native banana slug is the mascot of UC Santa Cruz.


            April 16, 2018 at 8:23 PM

  3. It was either too heavy with pollen to move quickly or it decided you were a harmless bee-ing.


    April 16, 2018 at 7:39 AM

    • It might bee that I couldn’t come up with such a beeautiful example of wordplay at the time beecause I was too much of a busy bee beemused by beeing a photographer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2018 at 7:45 AM

      • Ah now there’s another thought; maybee the bee was also beemused by suddenly finding itself beeing photographed.


        April 16, 2018 at 9:04 PM

  4. Gorgeous flowers with rich colour! And the bee found what it wants exactly!!


    April 16, 2018 at 9:03 AM

  5. All of life in this photo, Steve, and so very brilliant.

    Jet Eliot

    April 16, 2018 at 9:12 AM

  6. I was startled to see the name stork’s bill. We call our native geranium cranes bill. When I began putting in native plants in my garden I was amazed at all the tiny native bees that turned up. You have beautifully captured that rich tapestry of life.


    April 17, 2018 at 8:57 AM

  7. Such a tiny little visitor.. bees love purple! So do I 😃


    April 19, 2018 at 8:31 PM

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