ported from this source. In this region until recently no plant furnished more honey than willow-herb, and if the pasturage were permanent a beekeeper would find in such a location a bonanza. It yields nectar, says Hutchinson, during weather that would stop all storing from basswood or clover, and bees have been seen bringing in honey at a fair rate with a cold wind blowing from the North. “To my knowledge it has failed only once in a dozen years.” Sometimes a drop of nectar can be seen at the base of each petal. At times several pounds of honey may be brought into the hives in a few hours.
For four consecutive years a good crop of honey has been obtained at Melford in northern Saskatchewan. A beekeeper near New Westminster, British Columbia, writes: “Last year my two best colonies gave 550 pounds each. I am satisfied that most of it, if not all, came from fireweed, which grows here in great profusion.” Eighteen miles southeast of Tacoma, Washington, an average of 120 pounds per colony has been secured entirely from fireweed. It has been reported that willow-herb is occasionally unreliable in western Washington, and that hundreds of acres in full bloom may not yield a pound of honey. If there is very little rain during May and June the crop will he light. The largest average crops are secured within 50 miles of the ocean. Heavy fogs followed by warm clear days give the best yields. In the vicinity of St. Maries, Benewah County, Idaho, a large area of land, which has recently been cleared of forest, is covered with a luxuriant growth of fireweed, which yields nectar until killed by severe frosts. The total number of colonies of bees in this locality probably does not exceed 100, but it is estimated that there is ample room for at least 2000 colonies. Unfortunately the best areas for fireweed honey production are difficult to reach and are, consequently, seldom utilized by beekeepers. The loss of the apiary from forest fires must also be guarded against in many locations.
Hutchinson, whose knowledge of willow-herb honey was based on an experience covering many years, described it as follows: “Willow-herb furnishes the whitest and sweetest honey I have ever tasted. The flavor is not very pronounced, but there is a suggestion of spiciness.” According to Sladen: “Fireweed honey is almost water-white, has a good density, and a very mild flavor. It granulates soon after extraction.” In some instances the honey has been described as being as clear as water. The comb is also very white and tender.
WILD SENNA (Cassia marilandica). — The yellow flowers are nectarless; and, as in the case of partridge-pea, are visited only by bumblebees, upon which they are dependent for pollination. Nectar is secreted on the upper side of the leaf stalks near the base by club-shaped nectaries. Reported to be a good honey plant in Louisiana. See Partridge-pea.
WITCH HAZEL (Hamamelis virginiana). — A tall shrub with yellow flowers, blooming in late autumn, and maturing its seeds the next season. It is very common in damp woods from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Nebraska. As it blooms so late and is abundant, it is helpful in preparing the bees for winter.
WOOLLY WHITE DROUGHT WEED. — See Turkey Mullein.
WOODBINE (Psedera quinquefolia).—A woody climbing vine with small green flowers in clusters. Leaves digitate, of five leaflets. Common in thickets and often cultivated for ornament. Nectar is secreted in minute drops at the base of the ovary. Honeybees resort to the flowers in great numbers.
YELLOW CROCID. — See Crocidium multicaule.
YELLOW JESSAMINE (Gelsemium sempervirens). — Evening trumpet-flower. A shrubby twining vine with large, yellow funnelform flowers. In Florida it blooms from February to March, and, although bees visit the blossoms, a surplus seems never to he obtained. It. is useful for spring stimulation. The honey has been reported to be poisonous, but this has been denied. Some severe cases of vomiting with the usual symptoms of poison have been reported. (Fig. 127.)