bees often visit the tassels in great numbers. Sorghum is another grass which is attractive to bees. Both of these grasses have been again and again erroneously reported to yield nectar. Large areas are also planted with castor-oil beans, the honey yield of which has been reported as “good;” but the flowers are nectarless, although there are on the leafstalks numerous nectaries which are practically func-tionless. Except the fall-blooming Roman wormwood, few other wind-pollinated herbaceous plants are of much importance to beekeepers.
The second group of nectarless plants is composed of conspicuous flowers, all of which are pollinated by insects. Many of them are of large size, as the rose, poppy, hepatica, anemone, purple clematis, bloodroot, nightshade, elder, rock-rose, St. John’s-wort, and species of mullein and Spiraea. They are called pollen-flowers. They contain no nectar, and bees cease their visits as soon as the supply of pollen has been exhausted. Pollen-flowers are of every color, and occur in a great variety of families, as the lily, orchid, buttercup, poppy, nightshade, and honeysuckle families, and it is probable that at some time in their past history they secreted nectar, but have since lost this function.
As in the case of the wind-pollinated flowers, the pollen-flowers are occasionally reported, as the result of careless observation, to yield nectar. The rose has been a veritable thorn in the flesh to both poets and artists, and bees are constantly represented as seeking its sweet secretions. Beekeepers also in the northern and southern states and in southern Europe have reported it as yielding nectar; but, unfortunately, there is no such thing as rose honey. Possibly the sweet-brier rose may produce a thin layer of nectar, but this report needs to be confirmed. There is a rich store of pollen in the flowers, and honeybees, bumblebees, leaf-cutting bees, mason bees, and ground bees hasten to gather it; but as soon as it has all been removed their visits immediately cease. Although an acre of poppies would not produce an ounce of honey, there are occasional reports of bees being stupefied by gathering nectar from poppy blossoms and lying about on the ground unable to fly; but if this statement has any basis of truth, its cause is not poppy nectar. Honeybees devote their attention exclusively to gathering its rich store of pollen, visiting the anthers even before they open. Cultivated flowers which have become double, usually lose the power of secreting nectar. The California poppy in California, and the blue lupine in Texas, carpet large areas with their showy blossoms; and many other pollen-flowers, as the elders and anemones, are very abundant. It is not difficult to understand the origin of a pollen-flower; for plants which in one region, as alfalfa, white clover, and buckwheat, secrete nectar copiously, in another locality may be wholly nectarless.