VITEX, NEGUNDO (Vitex Negundo). Branching shrubs introduced from China and now widely planted for ornament and for bee pasture. The variety incisa with deeply cleft leaflets is usually recommended for bees. The long spikes of blue flowers are extremely attractive to bees over a period of several months in summer and fall. The honey is white with a greenish tinge (according to Vansell) and a fine flavor. J. E. Johnson, Verona, Mo., has 700 shrubs and considers his vitex the best possible species to plant for bee pasture. The chaste tree (V. Agnus-castus) is also much visited by bees for nectar. It has larger blue flowers.
WATERLEAF (Hydrophyllum spp.). Perennial herbs 1 to 3 feet tall with large pinnately compound leaves and clusters of bell-shaped bluish flowers. Waterleaf blooms in May or June from South Dakota and Quebec south to Kansas and South Carolina. Apiaries located near woodland areas are often aided by this plant which secretes nectar freely. Frank Pellett recommended waterleaf very highly for planting in shaded places near the apiary.
WATER-WILLOW (Justicia americana). Perennial herbs up to 2 feet tall with pale purple or violet flowers, twolipped, grouped in a head-shaped cluster, growing in shallow water of streams, swamps, or lakes from Georgia to Texas north to New England and Wisconsin, where they bloom in early summer. Wherever apiaries are located near wet areas, bees swarm over waterwillow. In the Tennessee River Valley where there are many impoundments, this plant has become very abundant in the back waters where it is sometimes quite valuable to beekeeping. It is not to be confused with Decodon verticillatus, which is also called water-willow.
WILD INDIGO, INDIGO BUSH (Baptisia australis). Herbs 3 to 6 feet tall with 3 leaflets and pea-shaped, indigo-blue flowers in terminal clusters, and large stout fruits. Wild indigo grows from Pennsylvania and Kansas south to Georgia and Texas, and is extensively planted elsewhere. The honey is light amber with a characteristic flavor described as good. A related species (B. tinctoria) with smaller, yellow flowers is often listed as a honey plant in the northeastern states.
WOOD DITTANY, STONE-MINT (Cunila origanoides). Herbs with a strong minty fragrance and purple clusters of 2-lipped flowers in terminal cymes with the 2 stamens protruding twice the length of the corolla, and oval, sessile leaves in pairs. Range from New York and Missouri south to Florida and Texas, growing in dry, acid soils particularly along the tops of wooded hills. The honey is white with a mild minty flavor. Beekeepers in hilly country may obtain much needed winter stores from wood dittany.