Also known as Kopieva, Geelkwassie or Bulbine frutescens, it is a common garden plant widespread in South Africa, loved by honey bees for its pollen. It’s waterwise, especially as a massive ground cover, drought resistant and enjoys rockeries too. The plant is interestingly also grown for its medicinal value, with the fresh leaf’s jelly great for burns, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers, cracked skin, rashes and blisters. Apparently, the Rastafarians use an infusion in a cup of boiling water for coughs, colds and arthritis.
Unfortunately, unlike our exotic bulbs like tulips, daffodils, dahlias, ranunculi and anemones, our indigenous bulbs are poorly recorded in beekeeping, even though because of their modified storage organs they produce flowers consistently and in the winter rainfall regions they have adapted to survive in seasonal and semi-arid habitats, which is great for honey bees.
This perennial succulent can be expected to flower in Autumn and Spring.
BULBINE BEE PLANT VALUE N0-1 P1-3
Saving our bees is not just about making less toxic environments for them. We also need to focus on what we feed them. Like us they need a balanced diet. A healthy spread of pollen and nectar from a good diverse selection of flowers to choose from. From these flowers they forage for protein from pollen and they get their carbohydrates, sugars, from nectar. Bee-effective and plant Good Bee Food, for you and your honey bees.
Honey bee visits Bulbine: image ©Pamela Cawood, taken May 2019, Mbabane, eSwatini, South Africa. Ref Beeplant values: sanbi.org / Beeplants of South Africa, M.F. Johannsmeier