N is for Norway Maple

We squirrels are hanging our heads. Do you know how it is when you’ve buried one of your acorns, and you don’t know where? We lost our list of trees and shrubs for our Blogging From A to Z Challenge. We couldn’t think of what plant we had chosen for ‘N’ day today. Then when we finally unburied it, there was no plant…

It’s been awful. We couldn’t find a woody plant that begins with ‘N’. If we’d been bit more organized, Northern Catalpa would have worked. Or Nyssa sylvatica. That was the Black Gum tree. Another criteria for finding a tree to use is that we like to have a photo of it. Technically, that’s not necessary, but we know how you humans are about pretty pictures–

“Ahem!” Hickory twitches his tail. “Nutmeg, you’re the one who is all about the pretty pictures.”

Fine. That’s my criteria.

“Does it have to be nectar?” Hickory asked. “What about pollen sources?” And we searched.

Eureka! Good old Wikipedia had a list of pollen sources, and right there was Norway Maple, Acer platanoides.

Bees need pollen as much as they need nectar. This is their protein. They use it to make beebread, which is fed to the baby bees. Without beebread, new bees will die.


Bees carry pollen in pollen sacs on their legs, so look there to see if they have been collecting. Check out the list of pollens bees collect from the Wikipedia list–it identifies the colors which is a rather cool thing. With those notes and if you know what is in bloom, you might be able to identify which plants the bee visited, if you spot one with filled pollen sacs.

By the way, Norway Maple is not a native tree. In fact, it’s rather invasive and therefore not high one our list of things to plant. So double plant a Northern Catalpa, if you are going for a forest of bee trees!


Purchase plants and seeds from a known source that does not use pesticides / insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids. They are not safe for honeybees and native bees. Watch this bee researcher’s Ted Talk to learn more about bees, why they are dying and how you can help:

Marla Spivak: Why Bees Are Disappearing


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