THE HONEY PLANTS OF AMERICA, NORTH OF MEXICO
In the following list of descriptions, all North American honey plants north of Mexico, of known importance, have been included. Owing to the great extension of the peninsula of Florida, descriptions of a few tropical species of general interest have also been given, as the royal palm, campanula, and logwood. Plants valuable for pollen only have been segregated, and should be looked for in Part II. A brief account of nectariferous plants of little or no value to bee culture will be found in Chapter IV. A few common species erroneously reported to be good honey plants have been added, lest their omission should lead to continued misapprehension as to their value. There is a large number of genera, especially in the Compositae, which are more or less visited by honeybees for pollen or nectar, and in the aggregate are of moderate importance, but which, in the absence of any definite information as to their exact value to the apiarist, it has not seemed worth while to list. Very likely a few of these may deserve more particular mention at some future time, but the majority will always remain of secondary importance. Great care, however, has been taken to prepare accurate descriptions of the more important honey plants, and to this end numerous beekeepers in every state in the Union have contributed. Thousands of letters have been sent out by the author requesting information in regard to the plants yielding a surplus of honey, their reliability, the length of the honey flow and the conditions affecting it, and the qualities of the honeys; and it is due to the cordial co-operation of the beekeepers of the United States that a great amount of important data has been obtained.
In describing the different honeys an effort has been made to give the opinion of the people generally, rather than a local viewpoint or the estimate of an individual. Doubtless in some instances basswood honey would be regarded as having too strong a flavor, but by the majority of the people it is held in very high esteem. In like manner buckwheat honey in Schoharie, Albany, and a few other counties in New York, is considered as equal or superior to that from clover or basswood; but the general market outside of the state of New York looks upon buckwheat as an inferior honey, dark in color and unpleasant in flavor. It is the color and flavor preferred by consumers generally which determine the demand and largely the selling price of a honey. The wholesale market is thus an excellent gauge of the preference of the American public in honeys. Local beekeepers are apt to overestimate the honeys produced in their sections of the country, and to compare them favorably with the best grades of honey. Clover and basswood honeys are by most buyers in the East placed at the head of the list. Alfalfa, sweet clover, sage, and orange in the West, and willow-herb and raspberry honeys in Michigan, are very fine flavored and are considered equally good. Great care has been taken to avoid exaggeration in the discussion of the qualities of the various honeys.
ACACIA. — Two species of Acacia in Texas, catsclaw (Acacia Greggii) and huajilla (A. Berlandieri), yield a large surplus of heavy white honey of fine quality. Huajilla honey is considered the best honey in the state.