Biennial bee blossom
Sun/shade: Full sun
Soil moisture: Medium
Flowering period: June-October
Host plant for 5 caterpillar species
Biennial beeblossom’s subtle beauty is most evident at transitional times in the life cycle – the reddening of the flower buds before they open, the pink blush of the petals as they age, and the rising scarlet of the leaves as they senesce. As its name suggests, the plant completes its life in two years, existing during the first year as a rosette of leaves upon the ground and then growing to maturity and producing flowers during the second year. The flowers are a nectar source primarily for long-tongued pollinators such as bumblebees and moths.
Like many biennial plants, biennial beeblossom is well adapted to disturbance and establishes rapidly in recently installed pollinator gardens, eventually giving way to longer-lived perennial plants. Within its native NE Ohio range, biennial beeblossom is found growing under conditions of average soil moisture and full sun within meadows, especially those with a recent history of disturbance. Biennial beeblossom is a tall plant, growing up to 6 feet in height, and blooming for approximately 1 month in mid to late summer.
Photo by Fritz Flohr Reynolds.