Showy Tarweed Seeds (Madia elegans)
An extraordinarily curious and reliable late season bee plant.
It might be that people don’t wake up early enough to appreciate and familiarize themselves with this fascinating annual sunflower relative. Arising from a single hairy, sticky, and resinous stalk that smells like pineapple, showy tarweed explodes into a multi-headed hydra of gloriously bright yellow flowers nearly 4 inches across that are often marked with deep magenta centers. The magnificent flowers that burst forth before sunrise, curl up from each petal tip by midday, eluding late risers.
But the bees know.
Male melissodes (long-horned bees) in particular, know tarweed flowerheads are a great place to spend the night, clustered together in nectar-soaked revere, awaiting the sunlight of dawn and the female bees that wake early to pollinate this plant.
Showy tarweed reaches heights atypical of our native wildflowers, often standing more than 5-feet high, towering above the dried-out kin of earlier seasons. This late season bloomer also has the fantastically amazing ability to set deep tap roots that allow it to prosper in the latest, hottest days of summer, even in heavy clay soils, months after the last rainfall. Occurring from southern Washington throughout California, showy tarweed wraps up its short, dazzling lifecycle with small, sunflower-like seeds that attract goldfinches and other songbirds. This is an easy to grow garden plant, and one that more people should get up early to take notice of.
Approx. 200 - 220 seeds (0.4 gram).