“Bee Friendly” Pollinators — A Mendocino County Guide

“Bee Friendly” Pollinators — A Mendocino County Guide

If you’re looking to garden or landscape with climate change and improving pollination in mind, we created this guide for you. What we have in this post are four examples of “bee friendly” pollinators you can find native to Mendocino County. You can even find these plants at the seasonal Mendocino College Plant Sale. You might even recognize some of these plants as have cultural and healing uses.

Without further wait, here’s information about four “bee friendly” pollinators that will have your garden or landscaping buzzing with the backbone of nature: bees.

The California buttercup (pictured above)

The California buttercup (ranunculus californicus) is a native Californian flower often found in woodlands and chaparrals. The bright yellow flower can be planted with other native annuals, blue-eyed grass, shooting stars, woolly blue-curls, and other natives that require little, if any, supplemental summer irrigation. Buttercups are also great for cooking, you can toast them in a frying pan. Use in porridge or frind and add to baked goods. Establishment: The California buttercup grow in a variety of soil types including: sandy, well-drained soil and clay. The native flower blooms in late Winter to early Spring. California buttercup requires full sun, morning sun or at least part shade. The flower prefers high to moderate watering, especially during the winter months. Management:California buttercup requires little to no watering during the Summer months. You can cut the plant to the ground as it goes dormant in the summer. To propagate, allow the seed pods to dry on the plant. In the winter and spring, the seeds will sprout nicely in most regions.

More Information: https://calscape.org/Ranunculus-californicus-()

California Fuchsia

The California Fuchsia (epilobium californica) is sometimes called the hummingbird trumpet or hummingbird-flower. The flowers are an important source of nectar for hummingbirds, especially during hot dry summers when most other nectar sources are scarce. The California fuchsia is often used in landscaping for environmental enhancement and erosion control. They’re also unpalatable for deer, which is a requirement for successful establishment in many areas. The Miwok women used this plant as a treatment for hemorrhages following childbirth. And the Karuk would use it as a nectar source, retrieving the sweet nectar from the flowers. (USDA, 2016) Establishment: After emerging, but still in the cotyledon stage plants are transplanted to D 40 (2 in. diameter by 10 in. depth) pots filled with the media used to germinate the seeds. Seedlings should be hand watered throughout the growing season until well established. During active growth, irrigation is delayed until containers are almost dry to help harden plants while growing. Once the seedlings are mature, they are transferred to larger containers, or planted. (Decker, 2003)Management:A single mowing of established plants in the winter minimizes woody build up and promotes new growth in spring andsummer. Although California fuchsia is a drought tolerant plant, irrigation during dry periods prolongs the bloom period. (USDA, 2016)

More Information: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TRWI3

The Ithuriel’s Spear

The Ithuriel’s Spear (triteleia laxa) is also sometimes called grass nuts, indian potato and highland potato. The corms were gathered with a digging stick and eaten by the Karuk, Pomo, Yuki, Wailaki, Coast Miwok, Maidu, and many other tribes in California. Establishment: If possible, obtain the seed and corms from local sources near where they will be planted, to maintain genetic diversity of Ithuriel’s spears and for the best adaptation to local conditions. If planting flowering-size corms, they can be directly planted outside. Plant the corms in the fall in full sun or partial shade. A well-drained soil that is light and loose will produce bigger corms. Keep the ground slightly damp. If given too much water the corms will rot. If it rains fairly regularly, don’t water the area. When the leaves on the plants have turned yellow and dried up, stop watering. (USDA, 2003)Management:There are five major types of indigenous management activities conducted in California that were designed to ensure future corm production at traditional gathering sites: 1) conscious breaking off cormlets from the harvested parent corms and replanting them; 2) sparing whole plants; 3) harvesting the corms after plants have gone to seed and dumping the seeds in the hole; 4) burning areas; and 5) irrigation.

More Information: https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_trla16.pdf

Tomcat Clover

The Tomcat Clover (trifolium willdenovii) is a species of plant in the pea family Fabaceae. This species occurs in the western part of North America. As an example occurrence, it is found in the California Coast Ranges in such places as Ring Mountain, California, where it is found in association with Cup clover. (CalScape, 2019) The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and used in soups or teas. The Miwok steam the leaves, stems and flower buds in an earth oven. Establishment: One of the showiest of our native clovers, tomcat clover is an extremely variable, perennial native clover, with lavender to purple flowers and unusually long leaves for a clover.It is found throughout the west in about 20 different plant communities, from oak woodland to grassland to alpine fell. It seeds abundantly, flowering in spring, and it likes moisture. Often found in disturbed areas, with moist heavy soils, sometimes even serpentine.Management:LIke all native clovers, it should be protected with Sluggo, or snail houses, or snail cloth, to repel slugs, the main cause of the demise of this genera. Grow it in containers for a beautiful and unusual garden accent.

More Information: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TRWI3