and is much visited by honeybees for both pollen and nectar. In 1923 a small surplus of honey was reported to have been stored from this source. Honeybees sometimes visit only the staminate flowers and fail to fly to the smaller pistillate blossoms, which of course contain no pollen. Common in the southern states.
MOTHERWORT (Leonurus Cardiaca). — An erect perennial herb, belonging to the mint family, with pale purplish, two-lipped flowers in dense clusters in the axils of the leaves, common in waste places around dwellings. Honeybees and bumblebees frequently gather nectar, but seldom pollen, from the bloom. (Fig. 86.)
MOUNTAIN LAUREL (Kalmia latifolia). — Calico bush. Poison laurel. Wood laurel. Mountain ivy. One of the handsomest of North American shrubs, common from Massachusetts to Florida, but especially abundant in western North Carolina, where on the mountain slopes it often presents an unbroken sheet of bloom. In localities in this section a poisonous honey is gathered year after year. Hundreds of pounds of this poisonous honey have been thrown into the streams, and in many instances beekeepers have retired from the business. When eaten freely it produces acute nausea, which lasts for several hours. The bees themselves apparently suffer no ill effects from eating the honey. The honey is commonly reported to be gathered from the flowers of the mountain laurel, although other genera of the heath family, as Leucothoe and Andromeda, are believed to secrete poisonous nectar. The source of this honey is open to great doubt, as a number of beekeepers have reported that they have never seen a honeybee on the flowers of mountain laurel, or very rarely.
Kalm, the Swedish traveler, after whom the genus Kalmia is named, says that if domestic animals eat the leaves they fall sick or die, but that they are harmless to wild animals. The belief that the leaves are poisonous seems to have extended to the honey. But Dr. Bigelow states in his Medical Botany that he has repeatedly chewed and swallowed a green leaf of the largest size, without perceiving the least ill effect in consequence. The taste of the leaves is mild and mucilaginous. Bigelow believed that the noxious effect of the leaves on young domestic animals was due to their indigestible quality. Sheep laurel, lambkill, or calfkill (K. angustifolia), common in New England, has been supposed to be a noxious shrub, but apparently on insufficient grounds. (Fig. 87.)
MOUNTAIN LILAC (Ceanothus). — Many species of these free-blooming shrubs occur in the Coast Ranges and in the Sierra Nevada, where with manzanita, pea chaparral, and scrub oak they often form extensive and almost impenetrable thickets on the foothills and higher slopes. The small white, pink, or blue flowers are in clusters and are sought by many insects for both pollen and nectar. Snow brush (C. velutinus), so-called from its numerous white flowers, has a very sweet odor and yields a delicious white honey. It blooms in May and June. Blue blossom (C. thyrsiflorus) is very abundant on logged redwood lands. The blue flowers open from February to April and yield a white honey which is chiefly valuable for brood-rearing. Deer brush (C. integerrimus) is also a common species blooming in July and August, yielding an amber-colored honey of good flavor. Mahala mats (C. prostrata) is a low shrub with prostrate spreading branches, thickly matting the ground on the mountain slopes. The blue flowers yield an excellent white honey in May. All of the species are honey plants of more or less importance. See Ceanothus.
MOUNTAIN MINT. — See Basil.
MUSKMELON (Cucumis Melo). — The staminate flowers open first and are more numerous than the pistillate. Valuable for pollen. Muskmelons are grown chiefly in New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, and the Imperial Valley, California. In the absence of bees no fruit is produced.
MUSTANG. — See Blue Curls.
MUSTANG MINT (Monardella lanceolata). — A fragrant herb common in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The rose-colored flowers yield a moderate amount of nectar.