Spreading Some Holiday Cheer

If you've lately visited the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, part of the 100-acre UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, you've seen them.

Honey bees nectaring on the Kniphofia "Christmas Cheer" poker plant

Its stems,  stretching 5 to 6 feet tall, are topped with brilliant spikes of reddish-orange tubular flowers. They are Santa Claus-red, honey yellow, and pumpkin orange, all wrapped in one. 

The genus, Kniphofia, honors Johann Hieronymus Kniphof (1704 -1763), a German physician and botanist. Botanist Conrad Moench (1745–1805) bestowed the name.

Everywhere the plant goes, it spreads cheer.

Honey bees, buzzing out of their their hives when the temperature outside hits 55 degrees, spread their own kind of cheer, bringing back life-nourishing nectar to their sisters and queen bee in the dead of winter.