Sophora tomentosa. — All Keys. October and November. Surplus. Tamarindus indica. — Tamarind. Lower Keys. February to April.

Thrinax microearpa. — Brittle thatch. Upper and Lower Keys. March and April. Good surplus if the weather is favorable.

Vitis. — Many species of grape. In bloom throughout the year.

Yucca aloifolia. — Spanish bayonet. All Keys. April, May, and June. No surplus.


Total area, 51,998 square miles. Alabama is often popularly divided into four sections, differing in surface features, climate, soil, and vegetation: The Cereal Belt, which occupies the valley of the Tennessee River in the northern part of the state; the Mineral Belt in the mountainous section; the Black Belt, or agricultural region, a strip 60 or more miles wide south and west of the mountains; and the pine barrens in the southern part of the state. Divided more strictly according to its physical features, Alabama consists of the Coastal Plain and a rugged region in the northeast, where the great Appalachian Range terminates in a series of mountainous ridges and low hills. The line separating the two regions extends from Columbus on the east border to Wetumpka, about 20 miles north of Montgomery, thence northwesterly to Tuscaloosa, whence it runs northward to Tuscumbia, on the Tennessee River, which it follows to the west boundary. Physiographers recognize four sections in northeastern Alabama, but their areas and boundaries do not here call for special description.

The Tennessee River crosses the northern part of the state in a broad irregular curve. Westerly the land bordering the river is level or rolling; but easterly it becomes rugged and mountainous. The soil is very productive, and there is a large acreage of corn, wheat, rye, and oats, whence this section is known as the Cereal Belt. A beekeeper at Grant, Marshall County, describes beekeeping in the Tennessee Valley as follows: “I am a planter of hay, com, and cotton on the Tennessee River. My records show that my average crop of honey since 1912 has been a little over 50 pounds per colony. Previous to that it was 10 to 15 pounds larger. The decrease I attribute to the logging of tulip tree, which was formerly one of my most important sources of honey. Other honey plants are sourwood, which blooms in June, huckleberry, persimmon, rattan-vine, and basswood; but the last is very uncertain. There were formerly many small beeyards in this vicinity, but the unfavorable winter of 1919 destroyed them.” In the mountain valleys of Jackson County in the northeast corner of the state there are more than 5300 colonies of bees.

The northeast-central portion of the state is traversed by a series of mountain ridges and intervening limestone valleys produced by erosion. The soils are largely sandy loams, and the forest is composed chiefly of oaks, hickory, and scrub pines. From the vast coal measures, covering 5500 square miles, and the immense deposits of iron, this region is often called the Mineral Belt. “While there are in northern Alabama many colonies of bees,” writes a farmer who has lived in this section for a lifetime, “scattered about in small yards, there is little commercial beekeeping. Both white and black farmers usually have a few colonies in box hives, and both handle them in an equally successful manner — that is, as little as possible, and both have the same ‘luck.’ But I believe beekeeping would pay well here if properly managed. At times a hundred pounds of honey are obtained from a ‘gum,’ and colonies can be bought for two or three dollars each.” Another beekeeper, at Munford, Talladega County, writes: “I have kept bees for 20 years, and for 15 years have used frame hives. Part of the time I have made fair crops, but commercially have obtained only limited results.” The honey flora in the mountains consists of tulip