feet and below 3500 feet. Above this elevation the plants are much less common, although reported on the mountains at a height of over 5000 feet.
The more important early-blooming plants in the southern coast counties are Eucalyptus, willows, Ceanothus, manzanita, buckthorn, bur clover, pepper tree, sumac, and a spring-blooming species of tarweed. “After traveling over all of California, I am convinced,” writes E. R. Root, in 1919, “that there is as much black sage as there ever was. There is five times as much sage honey produced to-day as there was forty years ago—not that sage is more abundant, but beekeepers are more numerous. To-day within fifty miles of Los Angeles there are more bees and beekeepers than in any other part of the United States, and fully 50 per cent, of them are located in the sage ranges.” In San Diego County white sage is far more abundant than black sage, and is the source of a large part of the sage honey produced in this county. It extends northward to Santa Barbara County. South of Los Angeles County black sage is relatively not very common. It is reported northward by Jepson as far as Mt. Diablo. Very little purple sage is found in San Diego and Orange counties. It is abundant in the Angeles National Forest, and is the dominant sage in the northern part of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. It is rare north of San Luis Obispo. Ventura County is the heart of the purple-sage territory, Orange County of the black sage, and San Diego County of the white sage.
“The citrus region of southern California is well stocked or overstocked,” according to E. F. Phillips, “as are parts of the sage areas; but there are vast areas of fine dependable sage region insufficiently covered by bees, and some of the best sage areas that I ever saw were hardly touched by bees. The future development of the sage areas depends chiefly on the building of suitable roads back into the mountains, and this is being done rapidly. Some of the best sage region will probably always remain inaccessible, for this vast area can not be reached by bees placed in the canyons of the foothills.”
The conditions described above apply to southern California for the years immediately preceding 1921. The year 1920 was one of the best known in this state for the production of honey. In the past fifty years there have been only two or three seasons in which equally good conditions prevailed. For illustration, an apiary of 280 colonies, spring count, produced 37 tons of honey. Orange bloom, sage, and wild buckwheat all gave a big flow. But the four years following have been most unsatisfactory. There has been much cold, cloudy, and windy weather with very little rain, or with rain at the wrong time. Beekeepers often failed to secure a surplus, and frequently were obliged to feed in order to carry their bees through the winter. Many colonies were neglected, and were found dead in the spring. But conditions vary very widely in California, and in some localities fair to good crops of honey were produced. This was generally true in localities where there were large areas of irrigated alfalfa. But beekeepers dependent on orange bloom, the sages, and wild buckwheat very widely met with severe disappointment and loss.
“The year 1921,” declared a well-known beekeeper, “in southern California from the beekeeper’s viewpoint will go down in history in a class by itself.” For the entire state it was estimated that only a quarter of a normal crop was secured. During orange bloom many colonies on scales showed a daily loss in weight. In Los Angeles County field bees perished by thousands. But toward the close of the season sufficient winter stores were obtained from wild buckwheat in a great number of bee yards. While the crop of 1922 was better than that of 1921, Ventura County produced only about a third of a normal crop; but Riverside County obtained a surplus from black sage and wild buckwheat. Only in rare instances, as