Wild pollinators, such as honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and other pollinating animals, are responsible for pollinating 75 percent of the world’s plants. In fact, roughly one-third of all the food we eat comes from plants pollinated by animals.
Here in Georgia, in late winter and early spring, it is difficult for honeybees and many of our native pollinators to find enough pollen and nectar to meet their needs. In many locales, the redbud is one of the only plants where these animals can find an abundant source of pollen and nectar. This is because this small native tree blooms long before many other plants have sprouted leaves or flowers.
Earlier this month when the redbud in my yard was in full bloom, it literally hummed with activities. The trees pink, bean-like blossoms were swarmed by countless bees. Although I didn’t see any butterflies visit the tree this year, in past years, they have joined the feeding frenzy.
If you would like do something to benefit the pollinating insects in your neighborhood, plant a redbud tree. In addition, it will provide you with beautiful blossoms in the spring, shade in summer and pleasing fall color provided by purple seed pods and greenish yellow heart-shaped leaves.
It is amazing how much this small native tree has to offer.