Phacelia tanacetifolia

Posted: Friday 27 July 2012
by James Alexander-Sinclair

The plant upon which this happy insect is writhing is Phacelia tanacetifolia or scorpionweed, an annual, which is not only irresistible to bees, but also hoverflies [...]


Phacelia tanacetifolia with bee

Behold, an extremely happy bee (above).

I will go further and say that this bee is more than happy. This bee is completely ecstatic: it is undergoing the bee equivalent of somebody rolling in chocolate sprinkles while being stroked by a hundred kittens. Or something like that.

The plant upon which this happy insect is writhing is Phacelia tanacetifolia or scorpionweed, an annual. Not only is it irresistible to bees, but also to hoverflies, lacewings and other beneficial aphid-munching insects.

And as if that is not enough, it is easy to grow, flowers for a very long time, is scented and makes an excellent cut flower.

As P. tanacetifolia is an annual plant, the seed should be sown directly onto the soil in about March. (It says a lot for scorpionweed that it germinated this year, sweet as anything, in spite of the icy April weather.) After sowing, just sit back and wait for an influx of buzzy things.

Scorpionweed also works as a green manure. The plant material will do your soil a lot of good if you dig it into the soil before it flowers - which I for one would find very difficult, as I cannot resist a blissfully basking bee.





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