of brown stringy-bark is dark, with a disagreeable odor and flavor. Chemical analysis shows that the honeys also differ in the percentage of sugar, moisture, and ash. Some granulate within a week, others remain liquid indefinitely. When the conditions are right the flow of nectar is astonishing; from red gum of western Australia (F. calophylla) Rayment gathered a teaspoonful of nectar from three flowers. The flow does not always cease at night, and bees have been observed working during bright moonlight nights.
The characteristic honeys yielded by this remarkable genus of trees are of great interest; but, as few of them except blue gum are common enough in California to produce a surplus, we are compelled to go to Australia for descriptions of their qualities (Australian Honey Plants by Tarlton-Rayment). Most of the following species are found in California.
Blue gum (E. globulus) does not yield nectar as heavily as some other species, the best record being 56 pounds per colony. The honey is amber, thin, and granulates in a few months. In California it has an acid flavor, and is in little demand for general use. Blue gum produces great quantities of cream-colored pollen. (Fig. 55.)
Yellow box (E. melliodora) blooms profusely every other year, but yields little pollen. It is a most popular honey-tree, and a surplus of 350 pounds is not considered remarkable. The honey is pale yellow, or nearly white, and has a delicious flavor. It remains liquid almost indefinitely.
Red box (E. polyanthemos) yields a pale, dense honey of fine flavor, which rarely granulates. Every second year the trees are white with bloom. Very little pollen, but a splendid nectar-producer.
Gippsland stringy-bark (E. eugenioides). Honey amber, with a very rich flavor, but so viscous that it clings to the extractor in thick ropes and effectually checks its revolutions. An abundance of cream-colored pollen.
Red iron bark (E. sideroxylon). The flowers vary in color from white to pale pink. An abundance of pollen. The pale yellow honey is not so dense as that from red gum, but the flavor is good. It blooms late, but bees do not winter well on it, probably because it has ripened imperfectly.
Jarrah (E. marginata) yields a dark strong honey unfit for table use.
Red gum (E. rostrata) is considered the finest honey-producing tree in Australia. A surplus of 150 pounds per colony is not rare. A nearly white honey, which granulates within a week with a fine grain. The tree blossoms every year, but is not everywhere reliable.
Red stringy-bark (E. macrorhyncha) honey has at first a strong flavor, but when fully ripe is excellent. It does not granulate.
Brown stringy-bark (E. capitellata) produces a dark-colored honey, which has a disagreeable odor and flavor.
Sugar gum (E. corynocalyx) secrets nectar copiously and yields an abundance of pollen. A mild, bright amber-colored honey; the tree blooms profusely and exhales the fragrance of ripe cantaloupes. A handsome shade tree. Five hundred trees would be a good investment for every beekeeper.
Apple box (E. staurtiana) in New South Wales yields a dark inferior honey with a sharp flavor. It granulates with a fine grain.
Gray box (E. hemiphloia) yields a honey with a “tallowy” flavor, whence it has been imagined that bees gathered tallow from sheep skins hung up to dry.
Mahogany gum (E. botryoides) yields a pale yellow acid honey.
There are many other species, each having its own distinctive characteristics, but they do not differ essentially from those described.
By far the most widely planted and probably the best adapted to the climatic conditions of California is the blue gum, or E. globulus, which is found in almost every town in the state from San Francisco to San Diego, and inland as far as the edge of the Imperial Desert region. It is apparently as vigorous in California as in its native Australia. It is claimed to be the fastest-growing tree in the world. Seedlings will average a growth of 50 feet in height in six years and 100 feet in ten years; and under favorable conditions a seedling may reach a height of 35 feet