FILAREE — See Alfilerilla.
FLOWERING CURRANT. — See Currant.
FOG FRUIT. — See Carpet Grass.
FORGET-ME-NOT (Myosotis macrosperma). — In Oregon this species is reported to yield a light-amber honey of thin body with the aroma of the blossoms.
FRUIT BLOOM. — See Apple, Pear, Plum, and Cherry.
GALLBERRY (Ilex glabra). — Inkberry. Evergreen winterberry. An evergreen shrub, 2 to 6 feet tall, with oval or elliptic leathery leaves, smooth, shining, deep green above, and paler and dull beneath. The diffusely branched bushes form dense thickets which withstand the encroachments of all other plant growths, and can be passed through with difficulty. The gallberry multiplies both by offshoots and by seed, and in the southeastern states is rapidly extending over land which has been recently cleared of forest. (Fig. 57.)
The blooming period lasts for about a month, beginning with May and closing early in June. The small flowers, in a multitude of little clusters, are produced in the greatest profusion, and 3000 have been counted on a bush with a stem only half an inch in diameter. The flowers are largely dioecious; that is, a part of the bushes produce chiefly staminate and a part mostly pistillate flowers; and they are, therefore, dependent on insects for pollination. The sterile flowers are in clusters of 3 to 6, while the fertile are solitary. The bushes begin to bloom the second year. The berries (drupes) are shining black, and are sometimes used for dyeing wool or in making a substitute for ink, whence the name inkberry. They are also called winterberries, because they remain on the bushes in great numbers during the winter and afford a never-failing food supply for birds. Ripe fruit can be found on the bushes every month in the year. In the spring when they are in full bloom there still remain on the branches a part of the fruit of the previous year. As the name indicates, the fruit is very bitter; but to some extent the gallberries are eaten by birds.
The gallberry grows in sandy soil along or near the coast from eastern Massachusetts to Florida and Louisiana. It is the most valuable honey plant in the southeastern section of the United States, rivalling or surpassing the gum trees in the amount of honey produced. It covers thousands of acres of the sour or acid soil of the Coastal Plain where sweet clover, white clover, and tobacco will not flourish. The limestone soils so necessary to the prosperity of the clovers are unfavorable to this shrub. Without it there would be an immense area of sour soils with no honey plant well adapted to the needs of bee culture. Upon the surplus secured from this species the South is largely dependent for a good table honey. In the swampland are found the gum trees, or tupelos, while on the higher ground grow the gallberry, blackberry, and huckleberry. Much of this land can never be drained or reclaimed, and will thus always remain inviting territory to the beekeeper. So abundantly is the nectar produced that in southeastern Georgia the little drops can be plainly seen glistening in the flowers. So much better and so abundant is this source of nectar, that honeybees were observed by E. R. Root actually to desert the tupelos in the height of the honey flow, and devote their attention wholly to the newly opening bloom of the gallberry.
The gallberry first becomes important as a honey plant in the swamps around Norfolk, in southeast Virginia, where with the gum trees it seldom fails to yield a surplus. In Tidewater North Carolina there is a vast area of low land comprising 20,000 square miles, the eastern half of which is not more than 20 feet above sea level. Gallberry covers thousands of acres along the rivers and bays, blooming from May 10 to June 1, and yielding an excellent but rather thin honey, which is liable to ferment unless well ripened. The Coastal Plain is far superior to any other part of the state for beekeeping, and “there is practically,” writes the State Specialist in Beekeeping, “no limit to the extent beekeeping can be developed in this section.” The average size of the apiaries of 55 beekeepers in 19 counties is 88 colonies, but there are 20 apiaries which contain 100 or more colonies. The