PECTIS (Pectis papposa). — A strong-scented herb with yellow flowers in small heads, growing on semi-arid plains from New Mexico to southern California. In southern Arizona, if there is sufficient rain in July, this weed springs up very quickly, covering hundreds of acres. It blooms in 6 to 8 days. Bees visit it in multitudes, and continue their visits until frost, unless the secretion of nectar is checked by dry weather. If there is very little rain, it does not appear.
PENNYROYAL (Satureja rigida). — A perennial shrubby plant, 2 to 3 feet tall, growing on sandy barrens and pine lands throughout southern Florida; but it is of little value to the beekeeper south of Lake Apopka. The stems branch diffusely and bear headlike clusters of light purple, two-lipped flowers. It is abundant in the southwestern part of the state below Tampa on the west coast, and near Stewart on the east side. The honey flow comes in January, at a time unfortunately when the colonies in this section are usually weak; but the plant does not entirely cease to bloom until March. During the flow; colonies build up very rapidly and fill the hives with stores. While good crops have been obtained three years in succession, rainy weather is very likely to interfere with the flow.
The honey is light-colored and has a minty flavor and odor. The aromatic taste might not be agreeable to everyone, but only a small quantity of the honey is placed on the market. A beekeeper at Hansford writes under date of January 17: “I examined 15 colonies yesterday and found them full of bees, with from 4 to 6 frames of brood in each hive and an average of 50 pounds of surplus in the supers. Pennyroyal is now just at its best and has yet 60 days to yield. Don’t call it erratic. This is the third season I have secured a surplus.” See Purple-Flowered Mint.
PEPPERBUSH. — See Clethra.
PEPPERMINT. — See Mint.
PEPPER TREE (Schinus molle). — A small evergreen tree, with fragrant compound leaves, and greenish white flowers in feathery clusters. The fruit is a small red drupe with a pungent flavor, whence the name. It is not the source of pepper, which comes from plants belonging to the genus Piper. The honey in California is reported to be dark with a strong flavor. It blooms at all seasons.
PERSIMMON (Diospyros virginiana). — When grown in a dense forest the persimmon may reach a height of 100 feet, but in open land it is rarely 50 feet tall. The small, urn-shaped, greenish yellow flowers are four-parted, and appear from the last of April in the extreme South to the middle of June at the northern limit of the species. The clustered staminate and the solitary pistillate flowers are on different trees, and are largely dependent on bees for pollination; but the pollen, which is light and powdery, is also carried by the wind. Throughout the southern states beekeepers very widely report that the nectar and pollen gathered from the persimmon are valuable for building up the colonies in the spring. At Chandler, Oklahoma, a small surplus is reported to have been obtained one year.
The persimmon is most abundant in the fields and woodlands of the southeastern United States, but it extends westward to central Kansas. Northward a few trees are found in Connecticut, New York, and Michigan. It is most productive in Virginia and the Carolinas, and westward to Missouri and Arkansas. The fruit has been described as “good for dogs, hogs, and ”possums,” but the early Spanish explorer, De Soto, called it “a delicious little plum.”
PHACELIA (Phacelia tanacetifolia). — Fiddle-neck. A hairy herbaceous annual, 6 inches to 2 feet tall, with bluish flowers in scorpioid racemes, 3 to 4 inches long, common from Sacramento Valley to southern California. It blooms in about six weeks from seed and furnishes an excellent bee pasturage for about the same length of time. The honey is amber-colored with a mild aromatic flavor. The color of the pollen is blue. It was formerly very abundant in California, but owing to the over-pasturing of the cattle-ranges it has almost disappeared from thousands of acres of wild land. It is now found chiefly in the underbrush where it can not be reached by cattle. It has been introduced into Europe, where it has been highly