HEATHER (Calluna vulgaris). — The heathers or heaths are not indigenous to America, although three species occur locally in eastern New England; but in northern and western Europe heather or ling (Calluna vulgaris) covers vast areas of waste or sterile lands called moors. When it grows a yard tall the fine evergreen leaves, the purple stems, and profusion of pink flowers present an expanse of color long to be remembered. Its uses among the peasants are numberless, being employed for brooms, brushes, fuel, brewing, roofing, beds, dyeing, and fodder. Another beautiful heath, the purple heath (Erica cinerea) is also common on the lower moors of Great Britain. Both secrete nectar plentifully and furnish a generous surplus of amber-colored honey, with an aromatic flavor and a pungent aroma, but so thick that it is difficult to extract. It is highly prized as a fine honey throughout Great Britain. In southwestern Africa the heaths reach their maximum, and the 500 species are a prominent element in the vegetation of that region, reaching the height of 12 feet and being covered with white or pink blossoms for a large part of the year. (Fig. 64.)
On the Bayard Thayer estate at South Lancaster, Mass., there have been planted on the hillsides in irregular masses two or three acres of heather (Calluna vulgaris). The plant is hardy and seeds itself, but it is necessary to keep the land free from underbrush. It is propagated by means of cuttings rooted in a greenhouse. The original seed came from Scotland and was planted at Townsend, Mass., by a Scotch woman, homesick for her native heather hills. No surplus has thus far been obtained from the bloom.
HEDGE NETTLE (Stachgs). — There are many species of hedge nettle, which are found in both the East and West. They belong to the mint family, and, owing to the long corolla tubes, are adapted to the long-tongued bees, especially bumblebees. But honeybees also visit the flowers, which are doubtless entitled to a place among the honey plants of secondary importance.
HELIOTROPE (Heliotropium eurassavicum). — Listed as a honey plant in California, where it is common along the seashore and in low alkaline land.
HERON’S-BILL. — See Alfilerilla.
HILL VERVENTA. — See Phacelia.
HOLLY (Ilex opaca). — American holly. White holly. A small evergreen tree, 20 to 50 feet tall, with a trunk sometimes six feet in circumference. Bark smooth and grayish, white, twigs light brown. The leaves are elliptical, leathery, spiny-toothed, dark green, shiny above and dull beneath, with bright red berries in the axils. As in the common gallberry, the flowers are small, white, and a part are pistillate and a part staminate, the staminate being clustered and the pistillate solitary. Only one kind of flower occurs usually on an individual tree. Holly extends throughout the southern states from Florida to Texas, and in the Mississippi Valley northward to Missouri, and along the coast to Massachusetts, but is not abundant north of Virginia. (Fig. 65.)
American holly is widely distributed in Georgia, but is seldom very common in any one locality. The flowers expand in April, and, although the honey is never obtained pure, it is undoubtedly excellent. In Florida it is confined to the northern part of the state, where it blooms a little earlier than in Georgia. The honey is always mixed with that from other early spring flowers; for example, on the eastern coast it forms a fine blend with the honey of the saw palmetto. In South Carolina holly is also considered a valuable honey-producer, and the odor of the flowers is very noticeable in the apiary when the trees are in bloom. In Massachusetts the holly does not flower until June. There is in this state a variety with yellow fruit.
But locally throughout western Mississippi and southern Arkansas holly is an important honey plant, and the source of a large amount of surplus. At Grays-port, Grenada County, Mississippi, it is the only honey plant yielding a surplus. The honey is almost white or a very light amber in color, heavy, excellent in flavor and when pure will not candy for years. “I would go out of business,” writes a beekeeper from this town, “were it not for holly. It is always reliable except when