OH! The Buzzin’ of the Bees….

Thanda Team

Whilst it hardly seems possible, Winter has come to an end and Spring is now upon us. This is always a special time of year on the reserve as the trees shed their winter drabness and put on their bright summer apparel. Perhaps one of the most striking trees during September and October is the Weeping Boer-bean (Schotia brachypetala) which produces massed bunches of beautiful scarlet cup-like flowers, filled with so much nectar that it overflows, hence the ‘weeping’ part of the common name. Because of this bountiful nectar supply, the trees literally buzz with activity as bees, beetles, butterflies, and birds jostle for position at the ‘buffet’. Animals such as baboons, vervet monkeys, and small antelope are not excluded, as they get to feast on the fallen flowers, a food source rich in protein. Historically humans were not excluded either, with early settlers apparently making a coffee substitute from the roasted seeds (giving rise to the ‘Boer-bean’ part of the name). It is definitely one of those must-see trees if you are on safari in late Spring/early Summer, and well worth taking a few minutes during a game drive to stop, look and listen.

Black-collared Barbet
Weeping Boer-bean in full bloom
Weeping Boer-bean in full bloom