The things that grow with no tending, low to the ground, rarely being noticed — those are the plants that are sometimes the most fascinating.

Henbit is one of those plants. I have started noticing Henbit this year because the warmer than usual weather is driving the bees out of their hives, and I have been trying to pay some attention to what they’re doing besides just enjoying the fresh air.

And that’s when I noticed all the Henbit in the yard, because that’s where the bees seem to be headed.

Henbit is a weed, an invasive weed, and a lot of people who like grass don’t like it and try to get rid of it. It’s considered a “winter annual” but will last well into the spring. The pictures here are from the Virginia Tech website.

It’s a member of the mint family usually grows up to about six inches, but it can rise as tall as 16 inches.

What does it do for the bees?

Well, it produces both nectar and pollen that the bees will work when nothing else is around. And that’s a valuable point for right now. There’s really not much available for the bees these days, although the maples, dandelions and a few others plants are beginning to show. Henbit gives the bees something to work. Once other things start to come out, the bees will abandon the henbit for something more productive.

For now, however, contemplate the blessing of henbit and the way it helps our little friends.

More information on henbit:

http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/lamam.htm

http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/plantoftheweek/articles/Henbit.htm

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