How Green Is Your Cosmos?

Mar 26, 2015

The vibrant colors of Cosmos, an annual flower with the same common name as its genus, are spectacular.  But we especially like the showstopping pink Cosmos with its bright yellow center.

Well, sometimes, they have a green center--that's when an ultra green sweat bee is foraging.

The female Agapostemon texanus is solid green, from head to thorax to abdomen, while the male of the species has a solid green head and thorax. It begs to differ with its abdomen; it's striped yellow and black, as if an artist ran out of green paint.

Agapostemon texanus is one of the bees featured in California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, the work of UC Berkeley-affiliated scientists Gordon W. Frankie, Robbin W. Thorp, Rollin E. Coville, and Barbara Ertter.  Thorp, a distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, received his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley, so there's the Berkeley angle!

If you want to learn more about native bees, check out Native Bees Are a Rich Natural Resource in Urban California Gardens, published by Frankie, Thorp, Coville and Ertter (and others) in California Agriculture.

Another good source is the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab, directed by Professor Frankie. It has an easy to remember URL:

Meanwhile, how green is your Cosmos?