In 2006, a group of Harvard botanists discovered this delicate little flower in the forests of Ecuador. They decided to name it after the American punk-rock band Green Day, whose music they had been listening to throughout the research expedition. Its name, Macrocarpaea dies-viridis, is Latin for “the Green Day moon-gentian”
There are many species of Melissodes and, as you can see from this male, they aren’t called Long-horn Bees for nothing. All or almost all of these species are summer to fall bees and most are fond to very fond of flowers in the Asteraceae family … the fall composites by other names.
Flowers of this group have the most bee specialists (at least in the East) of any plant family. Why?… its not clear, but the family does seem to have consistency in that the plants are mostly perennials and therefore show up in the same places year after year, on the other hand, they are also characterized in the literature as having low protein content and lots of nasty secondary plant compounds that can be toxic to some baby bees. Maybe it is this toxicity that makes the specialist bee become a specialist bee, a conspiracy of sorts. This bee comes from Fossil Butte National Monument. A fantastic place for bees as well as fossils.