I don’t really help at all…

… says the ant. Everyone I have ever heard talking about Peonies say that ants are there to A> Pollinate or B> “unglue” the flower so it may open and bloom. We have a bunch of Peonies in our front yard, and until today, Jeanine and I both believed that the mighty ant could take credit for the beautiful blooms that come in late spring.


The ants are attracted to the peony because the flower bud secrete a sap that is rich in carbohydrates that the ants use as a food source. Without any activity at all, the Peony can still bloom. It takes 5 to 7 years to produce a flowing plant from seed. Peonies will naturally spread and need to be divided or they will eventually stop blooming from crowding. Peonies make great plants for people without much time, once they are established, they will keep returning every single year without fail. I even killed a large patch last year with roundup and they all came back this year.

Sources: North Dakota State University & The Heartland Peony Society

I saddled up my 50mm prime lens with a 4+ and 2+ close up Promaster filter for this image. I really wanted the ant who was “tending” (eating in reality) the bud to come out. This image was at night, so I used my flash in iTTL mode and a diffuser on the large flash. with both the top and bottom elements turned on.

Nikon D7000 | 1/320 | ISO 100 | 50mm | f/18 | flash: Promaster 7500EDF

Peonies, Peony, Ant


1 Comment

  1. Shelly Zipperle

    That’s crazy! It looks like it was taken in strong morning light! I have never played with a close-up filter before – I don’t even understand how they work.


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