fully realize its possibilities. It remains at its best for only four or five years at the longest. There is probably not a county in the state in which a few plants can not be found; but it is found chiefly in burnt-over areas, where the coniferous trees have been lumbered. The heaviest bloom is during July and August, but the date at which it begins to bloom varies considerably with the elevation. It ranges from sea level to the upper timber line, and is a very reliable yielder of a heavy white honey of mild flavor.
White clover (Trifolium repens) is the most abundant of the clovers, and is on the increase in the sections from which the timber has been cut west of the Cascades, but it probably secretes nectar less freely than in the Mississippi Valley. It is of very little importance in the irrigated areas. It begins blooming in May and continues into July. In British Columbia it seldom yields much nectar before July. Alsike clover has been planted on the lowlands of the west side, but it is nowhere of great value.
Two species of maple are important honey plants. Broadleaf, or Oregon maple (Acer macrophyllum) grows mainly west of the Cascades below 3500 feet; blooms in April and May, and is valuable for both nectar and pollen. Vine-maple (A. circinatum) blooms a little later than Oregon maple and is more abundant in some localities. The honey has a fine flavor, and is colored with a faint pinkish tinge. Dwarf maple (A. glabrum) is abundant in all wooded portions of the eastern part of the state.
Other honey plants of importance in western Washington are: Madrona (Arbutus Menziesii). Common except in dense forests; abundant around Puget Sound, yields well. Snowberry or buckbush (Symphoricarpus racemosus) and other species. Abundant on the west side and in the northeast corner. Yields a surplus in northern Idaho, and probably also in Washington. Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana). Abundant on the west side. A good honey plant. Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale). Abundant, except in arid regions. Cat’s ear or California dandelion (Hypochaeris radicata). Abundant on west side. Honey amber-colored. Willows. Many species common along streams. Goldenrod. Abundant except in dry sections. Scullen states, however, that he has never seen a bee working on the bloom; but at Cloverdale, B. C., bees gather nectar from at least one species of goldenrod. Two species of barberry, Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa), and B. aquifolium are generally distributed in the northwest forests. Both bloom in March and April. Huckleberry. Very abundant in Mason County and in other localities. Other honey plants are sunflowers, milkweed, Phacelia, horehound, catnip, sumac, mustard, locust, wild currant, and fruit bloom.
While the apiaries in the western section of Washington are smaller than those east of the Cascades, the surplus per colony when well managed is reported to average larger. There are two honey flows in this region, one from clover beginning June 7, and a second from willow-herb beginning July 5. Climatic conditions are such that special manipulation is necessary in order that colonies may be at full strength for either flow. The same colony can not gather the maximum of honey from both flows. Except for 6000 acres in Clallam County there is practically no irrigation in this section, and only a few acres of alfalfa. The counties bordering on the Pacific Ocean contain the smallest number of colonies of bees, and the tier of counties adjoining the Cascades the largest number.
A large part of the northwest corner of the state, known as the Olympic Peninsula, is covered by the Olympic National Forest. This region is rugged and wild, and almost impenetrable in consequence of its broken surface, fallen timber, and, at high altitudes, glaciers and snowfields. On the western slopes the rainfall is from 100 to 150 inches annually, coming between November and May, while the summers are almost arid. Only a few bees are found here.