Ivy flowers

The park’s ivy flowers between September and November; each plant’s flowering season is quite short but a succession of plants flowers all through the autumn. The flowers are small, green and yellow, and so insignificant-looking that many people don’t realise that that they are flowers at all.

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However, these tiny flowers produce copious amounts of nectar and pollen at a time of year when both are in short supply. They advertise themselves with a heavy sweet scent and the nectar feeders flock to them. In Friday’s sunshine there were young queen wasps and butterflies that will overwinter in their adult form, building up their reserves for hibernation; honey bees and an ivy bee, a new species in the UK, which feeds only on ivy; and both harlequin ladybirds and seven spots.

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And ivy attracts flies; hover flies of all kinds, brightly coloured, striped and chequered; blow flies and flesh flies; deer flies, horse flies, midges and mosquitoes. You can hear an ivy in flower; on a warm day, it buzzes like a bee swarm.

This autumnal feast for insects eventually becomes a feast for insectivores. Dragonflies and hornets will hunt around a flowering ivy, and little insectivorous birds, wrens and dunnocks, appear in the hedges nearby.

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red admiral on ivy by SMHPhotographs: SMH

Another autumnal flower:

Jerusalem artichoke by Ian Bushell

2 thoughts on “Ivy flowers

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  1. Yes, we have lots of different insects on our ivy flowers including many small unfamiliar bees. Perhaps these are ivy bees? Another reason why we should all find room for ivy in our gardens.

    1. The ivy bee I saw in the park was the same size as a honey bee; in fact, that is what I thought it was at first but there was something about the stripes on its abdomen that made me look closer. I think its a new species for the park; Ian will know.

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