A curated list of flowering plants and trees that are important food sources for honeybees throughout our region of central Pennsylvania. Dates are approximate and will vary greatly from year to year depending on weather.


Pussy Willow
Salix discolor, the American pussy willow or glaucous willow, is a species of willow native to North America, one of two species commonly called pussy willow.

Honeybees on Pussy Willow – March 20, 2020. Video credit S. Rozowski

Weeping Willow
Salix babylonica (Babylon willow or weeping willow is a species of willow native to dry areas of northern China, but cultivated for millennia elsewhere in Asia, being traded along the Silk Road to southwest Asia and Europe. Cultivars derived from either of two hybrids are generally better adapted than S. babylonica to the more humid climates of most heavily populated regions of Europe and North America

Crocus is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn-blooming species. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in North Africa and the Middle East, central and southern Europe, in particular Krokos, Greece, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.

Narcissus is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants of the amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae. Various common names including daffodil, narcissus and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus. Narcissus has conspicuous flowers with six petal-like tepals surmounted by a cup- or trumpet-shaped corona. The flowers are generally white or yellow (also orange or pink in garden varieties), with either uniform or contrasting coloured tepals and corona.

Daffodil – March 24, 2020. Photo Credit E. Smith

Acer is a genus of trees and shrubs commonly known as maple. The genus is placed in the family Sapindaceae. There are approximately 128 species, most of which are native to Asia, with a number also appearing in Europe, northern Africa, and North America. The maples have easily recognizable palmate leaves and distinctive winged fruits. The closest relatives of the maples are the horse chestnuts.

Maple – March 24, 2020. Photo Credit E. Smith

Witch Hazel
Witch-hazels or witch hazels (Hamamelis) are a genus of flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae, with four species in North America (H. mexicana, H. ovalis, H. virginiana, and H. vernalis), and one each in Japan (H. japonica) and China (H. mollis). The North American species are occasionally called winterbloom.

Lamium amplexicaule, commonly known as henbit dead-nettle, common henbit, or greater henbit, is a species of Lamium native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa. It is a low-growing annual plant growing to 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) tall, with soft, finely hairy stems. The leaves are opposite, rounded, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) diameter, with a lobed margin. The flowers are pink to purple, 1.5–2 cm (0.59–0.79 in) long. The specific name refers to the amplexicaul leaves (leaves grasping the stem).

Henbit – March 25, 2020. Photo Credit E. Smith
Honeybee working Henbit – note the red pollen. Photo Credit B. Aucker

Pennsylvania Bittercress
Cardamine pensylvanica is a species of Cardamine known by the common name Pennsylvania bittercress. It is native to most of Canada and the United States from coast to coast. It is generally found in moist to wet areas, such as the mud on riverbanks. It is a biennial herb producing one or more erect or leaning, branching stems which are purple to green in color and grow 10–70 cm (4–28 in) tall. The leaves are hairless and divided into several rounded to oval lobes, each of which has one or two lobes, with the exception of the large terminal leaflet at the tip, which generally has three. Most of the leaves are located along the stem and there is no basal rosette. The inflorescence comprises many flowers, each with four white petals a few millimeters long, blossoming from April to October. The fruit is a slender silique 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long.

Tussilago farfara, commonly known as coltsfoot, is a perennial herbaceous plant that spreads by seeds and rhizomes. Tussilago is often found in colonies of dozens of plants. The flowers, which superficially resemble dandelions, bear scale-leaves on the long stems in early spring. The leaves of coltsfoot, which appear after the flowers have set seed, wither and die in the early summer.

Coltsfoot – March 24, 2020. Photo Credit E. Smith

Siberian Squill
Scilla siberica (Siberian squill or wood squill) is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to southwestern Russia, the Caucasus, and Turkey. Despite its name, it is not native to Siberia.

Siberian squill – March 24, 2020. Photo Credit R. Foust


Skunk Cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus, commonly known as skunk cabbage or eastern skunk cabbage (also swamp cabbage, clumpfoot cabbage, or meadow cabbage, foetid pothos or polecat weed), is a low growing plant that grows in wetlands and moist hill slopes of eastern North America. Bruised leaves present a fragrance reminiscent of skunk.

Skunk Cabbage – April 2, 2020. Photo Credit B. Aucker

Grecian windflower
Anemone blanda, common names Balkan anemone, Grecian windflower or winter windflower, is a species of flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to southeastern Europe, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria. The specific epithet blanda means “mild” or “charming”.The genus name is derived from the Greek word anemos, or wind.

Grecian windflower – April 5, 2020. Photo credit B. Aucker

Hyacinthus is a small genus of bulbous, fragrant flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae. These are commonly called hyacinths. The genus is native to the eastern Mediterranean (from the north of Bulgaria through to northern part of the region of Palestine).

Hyacinth – April 5, 2020. Photo Credit B. Aucker
Hyacinth – April 6, 2020. Photo Credit S. Rozowski

Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, which consists of species commonly known as dandelions. The genus is native to Eurasia and North America, but the two commonplace species worldwide, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, were introduced from Europe and now propagate as wildflowers. Both species are edible in their entirety.

Dandelion and Henbit – April 13, 2020. Photo credit E. Smith

Prunus serrulata or Japanese cherry, also called hill cherry, oriental cherry, East Asian cherry, Tai-haku, or Taihaku, is a species of cherry native to China, Japan, Korea, and India, and is used for its spring cherry blossom displays and festivals.

Lenten Rose
Helleborus orientalis, also known as the Lenten rose, is a perennial flowering plant and species of hellebore in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, native to Greece and Turkey. The species name is derived from the Latin oriens The common name derives from their flowering during Lent.

Forsythia is a genus of flowering plants in the olive family Oleaceae. There are about 11 species, mostly native to eastern Asia, but one native to southeastern Europe. Forsythia is also one of the plant’s common names, along with Easter tree.

Buxus is a genus of about 70 species in the family Buxaceae. Common names include box or boxwood (North America).They are slow-growing evergreen shrubs and small trees, growing to 2–12 m (rarely 15 m) tall. The flowers are small and yellow-green, monoecious with both sexes present on a plant.

Star magnolia
Magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia, is a slow-growing shrub or small tree native to Japan. It bears large, showy white or pink flowers in early spring, before its leaves open.

The peach (Prunus persica) is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach or a nectarine.

Peach – April 6, 2020. Photo credit S. Rozowski
Peach blossom – April 16, 2020. Photo credit E. Smith
Honeybee working a peach blossom – April 6, 2020. Video credit S. Rozowski

Trout Lily
Erythronium americanum, the trout lily, yellow trout lily, or yellow dogtooth violet, is a species of perennial, colony forming, spring ephemeral flower native to North America and dwelling in woodland habitats. Within its range it is a very common and widespread species, especially in eastern North America. The common name “trout lily” refers to the appearance of its gray-green leaves mottled with brown or gray, which allegedly resemble the coloring of brook trout.

Trout Lily – April 29, 2020. Photo Credit S. Rozowski

Descriptions provided by Wikipedia; photos and video provided by members of our club.