The Gottlieb Native Garden

a california love story

The Gottlieb Native Garden is a flourishing ecosystem belonging to Susan and Dan Gottlieb, friends of flora and fauna and devoted environmental philanthropists. With more than 100 hand-selected plant species and hundreds of animal species, the backyard is a National Wildlife Federation-certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat and a Xerces Society-designated Pollinator Habitat.

Evening Primrose Gets Pollinated

Leaf-cutter bees (Megachilidae) are productive pollinators for many flowering plants and like most of our native bees, are solitary.  Even if not seen cutting or carrying leaves for their nest, leaf-cutters are easy to identify by the way they carry their pollen. A leaf-cutter bee's pollen-carrying structure (called a scopa) is on their abdomen. These bees seem to “swim” on flowers, rubbing their abdomen over pollen structures, collecting it on their scopa.

Unlike many other bee species, leaf-cutters do not mix nectar and salivary secretions with the pollen they are collecting (creating a pollen "paste") before transporting it. This causes the pollen to be loosely packed in their scopa and much can fall off as the bee visits flowers, making for very good pollination.

Western little leaf-cutter bee - Megachile onobrychidis ♀ and Booker evening primrose

You can easily see individual pollen grains this bee has collected because she did not create a pollen “paste”.  Evening primrose flowers must release much of their pollen when they wither because bees more actively visit them in this state than when they are in full bloom.