quality, of fair color, but granulates quickly in the comb if not sealed. The blooming time is from September to November. Over 100 species of aster occur east of the Mississippi River, but they are less important westward, although still abundant. (Fig. 19.)
BACCHARIS. — See Willow Baccharis.
BACHELOR’S BUTTON (Centaurea Cyanus). — The blue flowers are very frequently visited by honeybees both for nectar and pollen. In waste places, escaped from gardens. Bluebottle. Cornflower. In Oregon, where it is called French pink, it yields a dark-amber honey with a greenish reflection. The flavor is moderately strong with a bitter after-twang.
BALL SAGE. — See Sage.
BANANA (Musa Sapientum and Musa Ensete). - The flowers yield large quantities of nectar and pollen. The pollen may be dipped up by the spoonful. Cultivated in Florida. In Queensland, Australia, the banana yields a light-colored honey of fair quality.
BARBERRY (Berberis vulgaris). — Common in thickets in New England. The flowers are yellowish, in drooping clusters; each flower contains two orange-nectar glands from which the nectar flows into the angles between the stamens and ovary. May-June. In Texas the three-leaved barberry (B. trifoliolata), or agarita, is valuable in January and February for both pollen and nectar. The California barberry (B. pinnata), in March and April, in Monterey County, yields a surplus of amber-colored honey. See Agarita.
BASIL (Pycnanthemum virginianum). — Mountain mint. Minnesota to Georgia and Alabama. Bees visit it freely.
BASSWOOD (Tilia americana). — Basswood honey is white and has a slightly aromatic flavor. It is easy to tell when the blossoms are out by the odor about the hives. The taste of the honey also indicates to the beekeeper the very day the bees begin to work on the flowers. Honey extracted before it is sealed over has a rather strong flavor; but when sealed and fully ripened in the hive it is considered one of the best table honeys, especially in localities where it is known. Pure extracted basswood honey can often be blended with advantage with a milder -flavord honey, as mountain sage. (Fig. 20.)
Excepting white clover and alfalfa, basswood at one time furnished more white honey than any other honey plant in this country; but the trees have been so largely cut for timber that to-day very little basswood honey reaches the wholesale market, although a large amount is still gathered in many localities. It is a variable source of nectar, and is not reliable every year. Rarely in eastern New York, early in spring, a drop in the temperature sufficient to freeze ice has been known to kill all the flower-buds on low ground, and greatly injure those on the hills. Even when the trees are laden with flowers, if the weather is cold, cloudy, or windy, no surplus will be obtained. Hot, clear weather and a humid atmosphere are most favorable for the secretion of nectar. Small drops may then be seen sparkling in the bloom, and the bee may obtain a load from a single blossom. During a favorable season nine tons of basswood honey have been obtained as surplus at Delanson, N. Y. According to E. R. Root basswood yields nectar more rapidly than any other northern honey plant. There are other honey plants which are the source of more honey in a season, but none which yield so large a quantity in so short a time. Doolittle has recorded a gain of a hive on scales of 66 pounds in a day. The length of the honey flow from basswood may vary from 5 to 25 days, while the date of blooming is influenced by locality, altitude, and temperature. The flowers open ten to fifteen days earlier in a hot season than they do in a cold one. In localities where basswood grows both in the valleys and on the high hills, the bees will have a much longer time to gather the nectar, since the trees in the lowlands will bloom earlier than those at a greater height.
The most common species is Tilia americana, a tall tree growing in forests