Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/563

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547
HONEY AND HONEY PLANTS.

a great amount of honey, but unfortunately there are no longer many trees to furnish blossoms and nectar. This honey is darker than that from clover, and has also a peculiar odor, which is unpleasant to many persons.

The last plant of value as a honey producer is buckwheat, which begins to blossom in August and continues until frost. The honey from buckwheat is dark and has a taste of its own which is not offensive. This honey is very rich, and a taste for it is speedily acquired. The cultivation of this plant is becoming, year by year, more restricted, and is now confined to the newer and more mountainous sections.

Those regions where the land is all under cultivation have only the white clover to depend upon for honey, unless there are a few basswood trees along the streams, while in the mountainous areas will be found clover, basswood, raspberries, and buckwheat It takes but a moment, then, to decide where one could best hope to succeed in bee-keeping.

We place among the plants which produce a small or variable amount of honey the mint and figwort families; also the asters and golden rods. Of the first family, the mints, we have the hore-hound, the sage, bergamot, the catnip, and the motherwort, all producing considerable honey. Of this group, the most remarkable is the motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), which is constantly visited by bees while it is in blossom. The supply of honey is limited only by the number of plants, which at present in most places is small. It has been suggested that this plant be cultivated for the honey it yields. It is now a rather unsightly weed. The figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) is an excellent honey plant. It has a square stem, and exteriorly a good deal resembles the mints. It is a worthless weed except for its honey-producing flowers. It is not very abundant. The wild mustard, the teasel, the boneset, the wild sunflowers, the Spanish needles, and the snapdragons, as also the smartweeds, produce some honey, though in most places the total is of little value. In Michigan, Prof. A. J. Cooke holds the golden-rods in high esteem as honey producers. In Pennsylvania the writer can not find that they are of any value at all. On newly cleared land the sumac springs up, and it is held by some to be a valuable source of honey, and that considerable amounts are some years collected from it.

The tulip poplar, popularly called "poplar," also produces honey in its beautiful large blossoms, but the tree is too scarce to be of much value to the bee-keeper. The blossoms of the blackberry, like their near relatives, the raspberries, are honey producers. The milkweeds are also secreters of honey. Curiously, the pollen of these plants often sticks to the heads of the bees and disables them so much that they perish. Prof. A. J. Cooke