bloom. Besides honeybees there are female bumblebees, the only caste of bumblebees in spring on the wing, and a. great number of solitary bees, belonging to the genus Andrena, gathering pollen for brood-rearing. Ants often climb the stems, and moths resort to the flowers in the evening. It is soon followed by the riverbank willow (S. longifolia), then there come a great variety of species, as the silky willow (S. sericea), the beaked willow (S. rostrata), the heart-leaved willow (S. cor-data), the white willow (S. alba) (Fig. 123), and the shining willow (S. lucida).

The very small flowers are destitute of both petals and sepals, and are crowded together on an elongated stem or axis forming a cluster called an ament or catkin. The stamens and pistils in all species are in separate flowers, which are borne on different plants, some producing only staminate, others only pistillate flowers. In a staminate catkin of the pussy willow (S. discolor) there are about 270 flowers and in a pistillate catkin 140 flowers. The multitude of bright yellow anthers renders the staminate blossoms very conspicuous. All of our species furnish both pollen and nectar, but it would, of course, be useless to look for pollen on pistillate shrubs or trees. The nectar is freely secreted in both kinds of flowers on the tips of minute glands, which in the pistillate flowers may be found at the base of the ovary. (Fig. 124.)

WILLOW-HERB (Epilobium angustifolium). — Fireweed. Indian pink. Rose bay. A perennial herb, 2 to 8 feet tall, with long lance-shaped leaves, and handsome red-purple flowers in long spikelike racemes. After forest and brush fires it springs up in great abundance, and flourishes for about three years, when other plants crowd it out. Wild raspberry, another good honey plant, is one of the first plants to replace it, and goldenrods, asters, Canada thistle, and various shrubs also soon spring up and occupy the land. But the length of time fireweed offers a good location for beekeeping varies greatly in different parts of the continent. Near Maniwaki in the Gatineau Valley, about 100 miles north of Ottawa, the location had become practically worthless for honey production six years after a fire had swept over the land; but 200 miles north of Ottawa, half-way between the city of Quebec and Lake St. John, there was still a large amount of fireweed in bloom 15 years after a forest fire. While in the upper part of the Lower Peninsula and also in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, fireweed was until recently a reliable honey plant, yet in Tuscola County, farther southward, according to Hutchinson, although very common it never yielded a pound of honey. On the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia there are localities in the Rocky Mountains where fireweed blooms year after year and shows no signs of diminishing.

Fireweed is adapted to a greater variety of soils than either alsike clover or white clover. Moist ground and a cool temperature are favorable to its growth but drainage is necessary; and, if the soil is swampy, both growth and secretion are poor. While fireweed thrives best in clay soils and particularly in soils rich in humus, as in the decaying remains of fallen trees, it will grow well northward for a time in rather sandy soils or on rocky ground after a fire. (Fig. 125.)


Willow-herb is widely distributed in the northern part of Europe, Asia, and North America. In eastern North America it extends from Labrador southward along the Appalachian Chain to North Carolina. It is abundant in New England, and in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. A few years ago there were thousands of acres of this plant in northern Michigan without bees to gather its sweetness. A large part of southern Michigan (the Lower Peninsula) was formerly covered with white and red pine, which has now been largely cut for lumber. During the first dry season after the cutting, fire bums over this stump land, and two or three years later the growth of willow-herb comes to maturity. A few years ago it produced large quantities of honey, but as the pine has been largely lumbered the prospect is that willow-herb in the Southern Peninsula of Michigan has had its day. In the Upper Peninsula it is at present a most valuable source of surplus. Blooming at midsummer, it prolongs the honey flow until the middle of August. It is easily eradicated by cultivation, but it will be many years before the bee-