towns and villages are located along the east and west shores where a narrow strip of land has been brought under cultivation.
The southeastern counties of Palm Beach, Brevard, and Dade comprise about four million and seven hundred thousand acres of land of which only two hundred thousand are in farms. The larger portion of these counties is covered by the Everglades, which serve as an outlet to Lake Okeechobee, and have an area of 6,400 square miles. The land is only about 18 feet above sea level and forms a great saw-grass marsh which is traversed by many water channels. It has the appearance of a vast level field of grain. The soil consists of brown fibrous peat of a spongy character composed of partially decomposed saw grass. At a depth of 3 to 12 feet the soil is underlaid by a great sheet of limestone. During the rainy season it is from six to eight feet under water. There are thousands of islands with an area ranging from one to one hundred acres, but their combined area is only about 150 square miles. The swamp itself is devoid of honey plants, but there grow on the islands wild orange, lemon-trees, willows, Magnolia glauca, woodbine, persimmon, buttonbush, prickly ash, and cabbage palmetto. Except along the coast this section offers little inducement to the beekeeper. On Biscayne Key and on other keys there are extensive apiaries that produce some large averages, mostly from black mangrove, cabbage palmetto, and the cocoanut palm.
On the Gulf side of the peninsula the great county of Lee occupies two and a half million acres, of which less than 5000 are in farms. In the center of this county is the Big Cypress Swamp, about which little is known. There are many apiaries along the coast, as at Fort Myers, Naples, and Marco Pass, which are dependent chiefly on the black mangrove. The larger portion of northern Monroe County, at the southwestern extremity of Florida, is covered by the Everglades and the southern portion by an extensive mangrove swamp to the exclusion of nearly all other vegetation. Black mangrove also is common on most of the keys, in some instances forming a girdle around them. The flow from this tree conies in midsummer, and it is one of the most dependable and heaviest yielders of nectar in the state. Several extensive beekeepers are located on the keys, particularly at Bis-cavne Key and Largo Key. Black mangrove suffered a severe freeze in 1895, but is now rapidly coming back.
Reports of remarkable crops of honey come from Tasmania, a new town near the west shore of Lake Okeechobee. Two hundred pounds of honey per colony are in some seasons gathered from gallberry, scrub palmetto, pennyroyal, orange, wild sunflower, red bay, and huckleberry. At Okeechobee cabbage and saw palmetto are very abundant, but they do not yield every year.
The following lists of the honey plants of the Peninsula and the Keys were prepared by J. C. Goodwin, State Bee Inspector:
CHINQUAPIN (Castanea pumila). — A very common shrub in Suwanee County, where it yields a heavy flow of nectar. The honey is dark colored, resembling molasses, and has a strong flavor. Good for feeding back.
CORAL-VINE (Antigonon leptopus). — A perennial vine, with bright red flowers, very common in central and southern Florida. It is in bloom nearly eight months. Bees gather considerable dark honey and also some pollen from the flowers.
GALLBERRY (Ilex glabra). — Also called inkberry. An evergreen shrub with small leathery leaves, blooming in May. One of the best honey plants, and the source of a large surplus of light-colored honey of good body. It does not granulate. An acid-soil plant, not found on limestone soils. Central Florida and northward.