Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tansy: Tall Golden Button Flowers, Bumblebees

Tansy   © SB
Graceful stalks of Tansy wave in the wind along the alley beside my house.

As the fern-like fronds of this prairie wildflower bend and dip, the motion seems to attract red-striped bumble bees, drawn by the colour and smell. (It's a bitter green odour, none too pleasant. In Wildflowers Across the Prairies, Jowsey/Vance call it rank.)

Tansy plants are tall — taller than the three feet I've seen in flower books — and flowers form in composite buttons on the top in August.

Common Tansy,
with  bumblebee   © SB
Tansy was brought from Europe to North America as a medicinal herb — it's said to repel lice and fleas, among other things (Kershaw, Saskatchewan Wayside Flowers).

It adapted well and escaped cultivated gardens for ditches, hedgerows and broken land.

Historical trivia: "In the Middle Ages a posy of Tansies was thought to ward off the Black Death." (from Jennings, Prairie Beauty.)

For more of the pictures I took of these bees, see Tansy flowers with red-belted bumble bees on Latitude Drifts

Prairie Wildflower: Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Bee: Bombus rufocinctus? (Red-belted bumblebee?) For close-ups of the bumblebee, click to see my other blog, LatitudeDrifts. (I love these furry red bees!
Location: Alley, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: August 18, 2011

Common Tansy, with two bees   © SB 

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