Chapter V

Plants with Brown, Green, or Colorless Flowers

ALDER (Alnus s p p.). A shrub which produces the earliest spring pollen in many northern states where it is valuable for early brood rearing. The wind-pollinated flowers are nectarless.

ALLTHORN (Koeberlinia spinosa). A green, thorny shrub with no obvious leaves and clusters of small green flowers, each branch ending in a long thorn. It blooms in both spring and summer in the southwest where it is heavily worked by bees along with other desert shrubs.

ASPARAGUS (Asparagus officinalis) yields a mild, light-colored honey in the Sacramento Valley of California where it is extensively cultivated. It is also widely cultivated throughout the United States.

BITTERSWEET (Celastrus scandens). A climbing, woody vine with small clusters of greenish flowers and bright red berries which are popular for decorations in the fall. It blooms in May and June and bees work the flowers heavily. The honey has such a bad flavor that it will damage other honeys.

BUCKTHORN (Rhamnus spp.). Small trees with simple, serrate leaves and greenish flowers in the leaf axils, the small petals enclosing the anthers like a hood. Large nectaries yield nectar freely. The European Buckthorn (R. cathartica) has become established in many eastern states and the Carolina buckthorn (R. caroliniana) is a native species. (See also CASCARA SAGRADA.)

CHINQUAPIN (Castanea spp.). Low shrubby trees 10 to 20 feet tall spreading by underground stems and forming thickets, flowers with a 6-lobed calyx but no petals, staminate in long slender clusters, pistillate 2 to 5 in compact clusters. In parts of Florida bees collect a strong, bitter honey from chinquapin which is used for brood rearing. E. R. Root considered it the worst honey he had tasted.

CORN, MAIZE (Zea Mays). The tassels produce vast quantities of pollen which is frequently collected by bees. Since corn flowers have no nectaries, reports of “corn tassel honey” are evidently erroneous. Honeydew from a variety of sources is often collected in late summer and may be mistakenly ascribed to corn by beekeepers who see their bees on the tassels.

CROTON (Croton spp.) Sometimes called PRAIRIE TEA. Low annual herbs with much branched stems and pale, whitish leaves, the inconspicuous flowers in he forks of the stems with

Chinquapin.—Photo by J. H. Lovell.

Chinquapin.—Photo by J. H. Lovell.