A stowaway

The saffron has just about finished now and I am only getting two or three blooms a day. I took this picture on the 21 October 2020 to show the average daily “harvest” I was getting at this period.

I always leave collecting the saffron until late afternoon so that the bumble bees can enjoy them before I pick them. However, after I collected flowers, I got busy and left the bowl until the next morning.

In the morning I started to open up the flowers and put the pistils to one side to dry. Then I saw my stowaway!

A little bee was in the saffron! At least this time I can be sure of my identification down to the family level. It is a female from the Halictidae family as you can see the groove or rima at the end of her abdomen. She is likely a Halictus scabiosa as I see them frequently in the garden.

She had slept inside the saffron all night in the dining room and was still sleepy in the morning when I discovered her.

She had the intention of passing the night outside inside the flower until I had picked the flower with her fast asleep inside!

She flew off quite happily with a little bit of encouragement from me.

She could be an over-wintering queen.

I wonder if I will see her in the garden next spring?

16 thoughts on “A stowaway

    1. This year I got 2.4 g. Not a huge haul but I am self sufficient. I use it in rice but not everytime I cook rice, although it can be used to decorate even white rice before serving. I have had better years and it is weather dependent. Amelia


  1. jeremyb12

    Our Saffron has just finished too. We had a very good harvest this year and your photos of flowers could easily have been our flowers. We planted our Saffron in 2017 (10 plants, then ten more in 2018) and we now have enough to last most or all of the year. We grow it on sandy loam on our allotment in Norfolk.

    We too have had bees sheltering in the flowers – I had to return a female Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae) when I picked a closed up flower with her inside.

    I wrote about Saffron on my own blog in 2018. It includes a link to my favourite saffron recipe, Carrots Braised with Cumin, Saffron and Garlic, which goes well with home grown carrots and garlic. (See https://www.jeremybartlett.co.uk/2018/10/15/saffron-crocus-sativus/).

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started with only six bulbs that were a present from a saffron producer in the Limousin. They made lovely fruit jelly (as in Jam) flavoured with saffron. I found your article on saffron very interesting. Amelia


  2. I’ve never been a saffron fan–but I love the idea of a stow-away bee. We’re coming up on our last opportunity to work with the bees, before winter settles in. We haven’t been in the hives all October, too cold and wet. It will be interesting to see how they’ve set themselves up for winter, during our neglect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My ‘saffron’ bloomed in spring, along with the common Dutch crocus. It looked just like saffron . . . but I did not trust it. I suppose I should have tried it. I just let it sort of naturalize and bloom. I still have no idea what it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have had flowers blooming out of season. Even now I have seeds coming up as if it were spring and not autumn. Maybe something in your weather “confused” the saffron? Perhaps time will tell and it will start an autumn flowering. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Such confusion is common in such a mild climate, but I would not have expected it to be so regular, as if it were natural. I gave them away, without identifying them as saffron or another species. I would grow them again though.

        Liked by 1 person

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