Chapter I

Plants with White Flowers

ANAQUA, KNOCKAWAY (Ehretia elliptica). A tree up to 30 feet tall with thick, rough, nearly evergreen leaves, clusters of small, white flowers and edible red fruits. Anaqua is important in southern Texas where it blooms in April and again after a rain. It is chiefly of value for spring buildup, but in late July bees once stored a shallow super of bitter tasting honey from anaqua at Galiad, Texas.

APPLE (Pyrus Malus). Apple tree bloom is an important source of spring honey in southern Canada and most of the northern and central states. The honey is used for spring build-up but when the weather is bad, bees barely make a living from apple blossoms. However, where the colonies are strong and the weather favorable, a small surplus is occasionally stored. The honey is light golden with a delicious flavor. Strong hives have stored as much as 80 pounds in British Columbia, and a scale hive in, Maine gained from 3 to 8 pounds a day during apple bloom according to C. O. Dirks. Apples are completely dependent on insects for pollination and when the weather is too cold and wet for bees to fly, the crop is a complete failure.

ASTER (Aster spp.). Perennial herbs with great numbers of composite heads with white rays (sometimes blue or purple), blooming in the fall. There are dozens of species in North America which are visited by bees. Yields of 30 pounds (Kansas), 35 pounds (Kentucky), 60 pounds in a week (New Hampshire), 100 pounds (Texas) or 200 pounds per colony (Arkansas by Ray Langston) are typical reports. The color of the honey varies from white to light amber, and the flavor from mild to strong depending upon the region and species of aster. A strong odor often pervades the apiary during an aster flow but this generally disappears when the honey is well ripened. The honey is usually mixed with that of other fall flowers, especially goldenrod. When gathered too late for adequate ripening, aster honey is treacherous in cold climates and there are many reports of bees dying from dysentery during the winter. However, if the honey is well ripened, it is an adequate winter food.

BALLOON-VINE, HEART-SEED, LOVE-IN-A-PUFF (Cardiospermum Halicacabum). An annual, herbaceous vine with compound, toothed leaves and irregular white flowers in clusters, and fruits bladdery. It grows from New Jersey to Missouri south to Florida and Texas in moist thickets. It produces a light amber honey of good quality particularly in the Brazos River bottoms in eastern Texas according to A. H. Alex. A 181-pound average was once stored from cotton and balloon-vine.

BAMBOO, JAPANESE (Polygonum cuspidatum and P. sachalinense). Also called JAPANESE KNOTWEED. A woody shrub up to 12 feet tall with jointed stems resembling bamboo and great clusters of whitish flowers. It belongs to the same group as heart’s-ease. It is widely planted in the northeastern states, where bees work the great masses of bloom eagerly. A minor source.

BEARD’S-TONGUE, WONDER HONEY PLANT (Penstemon spp.). Herbs 2 to 3 feet tall, with large white flowers sometimes tinged with blue in tall, branching clusters. The flowers are large, tubular, and two-lipped and bees have to creep far into the tube to reach the nectar. In Florida the wonder honey plant (P. laevigatus) has produced up to 200 pounds of a light colored honey in sandy lands in June and July. Various species bloom all over the United States in summer and are usually much visited by bees.

BLACKBERRY, DEWBERRY (Rubus spp.). There are many species of thorny briers, some erect and some trailing with clusters of white flowers and black berries. The honey is white to extra-light amber (in some areas it