regions and a great many small ones, which would often conflict with each other, or would leave large intermediate areas which would not fall under any of these divisions. The honey plants form a wholly artificial group, and are not sharply divided from many other plants. They include herbs, shrubs, and trees, and belong to a great variety of plant families. There is no soil, no extreme of rainfall or temperature, to which some species is not adapted. Their distribution is extremely erratic. The only characteristics which the honey plants have in common are that they secrete nectar freely, and are very abundant in one or more localities.
The United States comprises eight natural regions which are recognized by physiographers, geographers, and geologists, and which are used by botanists in studying the distribution of the endemic flora or native vegetation. They differ to a great extent in temperature, rainfall, soils, agriculture, and geological history. Their honey floras are in the main distinct, although the same honey plant is often found in two or more of them. Their limits are usually well defined, and we shall meet them again in every state in considering the conditions of beekeeping which they greatly influence.
The following eight physiographic provinces, it is believed, will serve more satisfactorily as honey-plant regions than any others that can be proposed:
A brief description of each of these regions follows, and additional details in regard to their characteristics and boundary lines will be given in the descriptions of the different states, which are divided into sections according as the territory of each is occupied by one or more physiographic regions.
1. The New England, or northeastern region, which includes New Brunswick, New England, and northern New York, was entirely covered by the great ice sheet, and its vegetation wholly destroyed. After the retreat of the ice the land was occupied by a forest consisting of a few kinds of trees, white pine, spruce, hemlock, rock maple, birches, and oaks predominating. The mountains and highlands were swept bare, or were covered by a thin layer of coarse drift. In the valleys and on the plains the glacial soils are generally sandy or clay loams; but limestone soils occur in many localities, as in the Champlain Valley, Vermont, the Berkshire Valley, Massachusetts, and in St. Lawrence County, New York, where white clover and alsike clover are usually dependable. But over great areas the soils are neutral or