moist lands of eastern Manitoba; in northern Saskatchewan; and in central and northern Alberta. But it is most abundant in British Columbia both in the mountains and on the coast. It reaches its highest development both in the height of the plant and in the size of the flower-cluster in the lower Fraser Valley. At Hector. B. C., at an altitude of 5200 feet, and at Glacier at an elevation of 4000 feet in the Rocky Mountains and Selkirk Range on the Canadian Pacific Railway there are large patches of fireweed in bloom year after year. Between Lacombe and Edmonton in central Alberta fireweed springs up and blooms in wheat fields in places where the grain has failed to grow. It is also fairly common on scrubland.

In the warmer valleys of the southern part of British Columbia the plants begin to grow so early that the blooming period may close before the end of the summer; but in the North they continue to flower until killed by about five degrees of frost. In northern Ontario a killing frost may come as early as the last of August. Travelers to the Yukon and other parts of the far north of Canada have observed that fireweed is prevalent as far as the forest extends, even to the delta of the Mackenzie River.

In the rain belt of eastern Washington and Oregon, in the lumbered regions, there are immense areas of fireweed, which perhaps offer as promising a bee pasturage as is to be found in the United States. In Washington its acreage is probably equal to that of any two other honey plants. At present it does not support as many colonies of bees as alfalfa, partly because of the absence of good roads, and partly because beekeepers do not realize its possibilities as a honey plant. As in other states, it is confined largely to the burned-over areas in the sections of coniferous forests, but there is probably not a county in Washington in which it does not occur. It ranges in altitude from sea level to the upper timber line. In the northeastern timbered section it is very common, and in some localities it is the leading honey plant; but it is also becoming more abundant along the irrigating ditches in the Yakima Valley and in other irrigated valleys, although here it is only a minor honey plant. It is also very important in northern Idaho. In eastern Oregon it is equally abundant, and areas of 100 acres or more thickly covered with fireweed occur. It remains at its best for four or five years, depending upon rainfall and soil conditions. Gradually other vegetation crowds it out. A second fire will temporarily increase its abundance, but the second period of growth is usually short, since the roots of many other perennial plants survive in the ground. After forest fires it appears in abundance in the Sierra Nevada of California. Willow-herb has a more northern range than any other honey plant of the first rank.


Willow-herb blooms in July and August, but the period of blooming is influenced by altitude, latitude, and rainfall. The flowers are usually red-purple in color, but at Monteith, Ontario, Sladen observed solitary stalks of a white-flowered variety. The nectar is secreted by the green fleshy top of the ovary, where it is protected from rain, and yet is easily accessible to insects. On the outer side the nectar is enclosed by the dilated bases of the stamens and above by a ring of hairs around the style. The flowers are visited not only by honeybees and bumblebees, but likewise by many solitary bees, flies, and butterflies. Bumblebees are common, and one was observed to make 37 visits in a minute. The pollen is pale greenish purple and is bound together by fine viscid threads. The anthers mature before the stigma, and cross-pollination regularly takes place. The flowers are odorless.

Cool nights and warm days, as in the case of many other honey plants, cause the secretion of the largest amount of nectar. The honey flow lasts longer than that of clover. In the Gatineau Valley north of Ottawa, it begins one or two weeks later than clover, or about July 10, and lasts until Sept. 5. It thus covers the larger part of the summer, or the months when the colonies are strongest. A colony on scales in a large apiary at Montcerf, Quebec, 100 miles north of Ottawa, gained 20 pounds per day for several days during August; and the average yield for six years was 144 pounds per colony, of which probably 100 pounds was from fireweed.

In northern Michigan over 250 pounds of honey per colony have been stored from fireweed; and 100 and 125 pounds of surplus year after year have been re-