not yield much nectar. About 40 miles below New Orleans, La., in the Delta of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines and Jefferson counties, there are many miles of almost continuous orange groves. The first orange trees were planted in this section more than one hundred years ago. In Texas the orange orchards are largely restricted to Galveston and Brazoria counties on the Gulf Coast, but citrus-growing is in course of development in the Rio Grande Valley.
In the Salt River Valley in Maricopa County, Arizona, where there are 2500 acres of groves, orange culture is an important industry, as it is also in the Imperial Valley, California. The orchards are confined to the slopes, which are free from orange-killing frosts. Oranges in this section ripen early, and the first shipments often reach the eastern markets in time for the Thanksgiving trade. The culture of the orange and grapefruit will expand considerably in those parts of the Salt River Valley where winter temperatures permit and there is an average water supply.
The orange was introduced into California by the early Catholic missionaries, but its cultivation on a commercial scale began 45 years ago. To-day the state has two-thirds of the trees and produces three-fourths of the crop in the United States, devoting 234,600 acres of its fertile soil to growing oranges and lemons.
As with many other honey plants, the secretion of nectar varies in different localities and is greatly influenced by weather conditions. In the cool regions near the coast there is little nectar. Fog also often interferes with the flight of the bees so that there may be very few days which are ideal for field work. In the foothills it is occasionally very cold. An apiary at an elevation of a few hundred feet has been snowed under for a few hours, while in the valley below the orange trees were also white — but with flowers, not snow. At Redlands the weather is very warm and there is little fog, with the result that in four years out of five orange bloom yields a fair crop, in proof of which may be cited the experience of a beekeeper who states that he has shipped one or more carloads of pure orange honey every year except 1904. Even here, when the weather is cool, very little nectar is gathered. But when the conditions are suitable there is probably no other plant in the United States which secretes nectar more copiously. At times the clothing of pickers and pruners is wet by the dripping nectar, the horses and harness require washing at the close of the day’s cultivation among the trees, and even the ground is dampened by the many falling drops. In southern California the trees begin to bloom the last of March, or early in April, and the blooming period lasts until the middle of May. The flowers of the navel orange open first, followed by those of Sweets, Valencias, and Seedlings. It would be an advantage if the honey flow were later, for the weather is sometimes so cold that tons of nectar are lost because the bees are forced to remain in the hives. The colonies are also not sufficiently strong to bring in all the nectar. With large colonies and clear warm weather it comes in very rapidly. At Redlands a hive on scales showed a gain of 119 pounds in 17 days from April 7 to 23. The honey was secured in about five hours of each day from 11 to 4 o’clock. During the morning the bees brought in pollen from various flowers, but before noon they were all at work on the orange bloom. A surplus of from 60 to 120 pounds per colony has been obtained. At Pomona the land for miles is entirely occupied by groves, and it is difficult to obtain room for an apiary. Here, after the flow from orange is over, the bees bring in nothing for the rest of the season except a dribble of dark honey from pepper and horehound.
ORANGE HAWKWEED (Hieracium aurantiacum). — Devil’s paint-brush. Introduced from Europe about 1875, this plant has spread from Quebec to Pennsylvania. In localities it completely covers the fields. Commonly bees do not visit it to any great extent, but in Aroostook County, Maine, in some seasons, when there is sufficient moisture and a bright hot sun, it yields well. The honey is light-greenish yellow. (Fig. 92.)
OREGON GRAPE (Berberis aquifolium). — A low, trailing shrub with yellow flowers and blue or purple berries resembling grapes. It is listed in Oregon as a minor honey plant. Barberry.
OREOCARYA — Coarse rough-hairy plants with white or yellow flowers, of