Willow-herb (Epilobium angustifolium). — Common.
Willows (Salix interior and S. amygdaloides). — Common along streams.
South Dakota extends from east to west 370 miles, and from north to south 207 miles, the total area being 77,615 square miles. Its surface is a high rolling plain or tableland, diversified by the narrow valleys of the streams. The Black Hills in the southwest cover an area of 5000 square miles, and vary in altitude from 3000 to 5000 feet. The timber land comprises about 2000 square miles in the Black Hills, and a few smaller tracts in the northwest and on the bottom-lands of the Missouri River. Mixed farming in the eastern portion of the state, and stock-raising in the western, are the principal industries. The winters are long and severe; but the air is so dry that there is little suffering from the cold. There is sufficient rainfall for growing crops in the eastern half of the state, but in the Black Hills irrigation is extensively practiced.
The region east of the Missouri River, which comprises about two-fifths of the state, was glaciated, and the brown fertile soil is derived from the glacial drift. An immense acreage is planted with wheat, com, oats, and flax, four-fifths of the total value of the crops being contributed by the cereals. There are numerous lakes in the glaciated portion, and it is estimated that there are 300,000 acres requiring drainage, which are either constantly marshy or are periodically overflowed. West of the Missouri River the state was not glaciated, and the soils are residual, consisting of sandy and clay loams formed by the weathering of the underlying sandstones and shales. There is a large area of waste land in the Black Hills and in the Bad Lands.
The best locations for beekeeping in South Dakota are in the southeast corner along the bottom-lands of the Missouri River, and in the irrigated areas of the Black Hills section. In general the eastern portion of the state, with its greater rainfall, more abundant flora, and larger population, is naturally better adapted to bee culture than the western part. As in North Dakota, the future of bee culture in South Dakota is largely dependent upon the more general cultivation of sweet clover. No other honey plant is so reliable or yields so well. It is the source of the larger part of the surplus. “Where sweet clover is abundant in the east half of the state,” says L. A. Syverud, state bee inspector, “beekeeping is profitable;” and he adds, “I tried out a location in the North part of last season (1924) with an average per colony that netted me over 200 pounds.” East of the Missouri River alfalfa is uncertain and yields little or no nectar. The poorest locations for beekeeping are in the northwest corner and in the Bad Lands.
Reports from the northeast comer of South Dakota are brief and unsatisfactory, and would indicate that at present there are only small yards widely scattered.
In the counties near the center of the east border, as Brookings, Kingsbury, Miner, and Lake, beekeeping is pursued at present chiefly as a side line.
In Lincoln and Clay counties sweet clover reigns supreme as a honey plant. Introduced about 1890, it is steadily spreading northward, and is destined to be the main reliance of beekeeping in this state. “We have forgotten,” writes a beekeeper of Vermilion, “that there is any other honey plant. Alfalfa a short distance west of us, and white clover 200 miles eastward in Minnesota, are good honey plants; but here we recognize only sweet clover. It is the most valuable of forage plants, and the greatest soil-redeemer and land-restorer known. Other plants may fail, but it is reliable every year.” Less important honey plants are dandelion, white clover, catnip, fruit bloom, heartsease, goldenrod, and aster. At Scotland,