I was given a small, mystery plant in Autumn 2010, and popped it in the ground at the top a bank, not knowing what to expect. Luckily this well-drained sunny position suited it down to a ‘t’ and it has since flourished, proliferating vigorously, and above all it turns out to be quite the bee magnet – attracting the attention of the honey bees and bumblebees.
It is a mediterranean native with downy grey-green, aromatic foliage. The flower is interesting and intricate – icy blue petals with deep purple veins, sporting great-reaching, show-off stamen, designed perfectly to rub themselves sneakily on the bee’s back as they get on with the business of sucking up nectar.
Teucrium was named for Teucer, the legendary first king of Troy who pioneered use of these plants as medicinals. He was a great archer and fought alongside his half-brother Ajax in the Trojan War. Fruticans, more banally, means shrubby.
The carder bees always look so cuddly, I love their vibrant orange stripes.
I agree – I would really like to be giving them pet names.
That carder looks really happy. I bought a half-price Teucrium x Lucidrys on my last trip to the UK. It’s a bit small yet but I’m hoping the bees will like it when it gets bigger and flowers.
I am amazed how quickly mine has grown – and with absolutely no care or attention, and poor quality clay soil. Its great that it is flowering this early too.
I hope mine does as well.
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