Dove Pincushions and Bees

Cultivated Dove Pincushions (Scabiosa columbaria) are now blooming in gardens around Tucson.

Bee (Superfamily Apoidea) on a Dove Pincushion (Scabiosa columbaria) flower

These long-blooming perennials have lilac-colored flowers that attract butterflies and a wide variety bees, like this unidentified cream and black striped bee (Superfamily Apoidea).

Bee (Superfamily Apoidea) on a Dove Pincushion (Scabiosa columbaria) flower

Many garden flowers seem to attract only non-native Honeybees (Apis mellifera), but this native bee seemed quite pleased to have found a bed of blooming Dove Pincushions.

Of course, the flowers were covered with numerous Honeybees as well, and competition for these flowers was so great that bees were landing on barely open flower buds like this one.

Honeybee (Apis mellifera) on a Dove Pincushion (Scabiosa columbaria) flower bud

Dove Pincushions are also commonly known as Pincushion Flowers or Pigeon Scabious (a very repulsive-sounding name). A dwarf, blue-flowered form can also be found in plant nurseries for sale under the far more appealing name of "Butterfly Blue".

Dove Pincushions are strictly garden flowers here in Tucson, but these introduced plants have become naturalized in the northeastern US.