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Alder Yields The First


The first material gathered from flowers is pollen. Candle-alder
(_Alnus Rubra_)[9] yields the first supply. The time of flowering
varies from the 10th of March to the 20th of April. The amount afforded
is also variable. Cold, freezing weather frequently destroys a great
portion of these flowers after they are out. These staminate flowers
are nearly perfected the season previous, and a few warm days in spring
will bring them out, even before any leaves appear. When the weather
continues fine, great quantities of farina are secured.

[9] The botanical names are from Wood's Class-Book.

The time that bees commence their labors does not govern the time of
swarming by any means; this matter depends on the weather through April
and May. These remarks apply particularly to this section, Green
County, New York, in latitude about 42 degrees. In other places many
different trees, shrubs, and herbs, may be found yielding honey and
pollen that scarcely exist here, producing far different results.

Our swamps produce several varieties of willow, (salix,) that put out
their blossoms very irregularly. Some of these bushes are a month
earlier than others, and some of the buds on the same bush are a week
or two later than the rest. These also afford only pollen, but are much
more dependence than alder, as a turn of cold weather cannot at any
time destroy more than a small part. Next comes the aspen, (_Populus
Tremuloides_); of this we have more than is necessary for any purpose.
It is not a particular favorite with the bees, as but few,
comparatively, visit it. It is followed very soon by an abundance of
the red maple (_Acer Rubrum_), that suits them better, but this, like
the others, is often lost by freezing. The first honey obtained of any
account is from the golden willow (_Salix Vitellina_); it yields no
pollen, and is seldom injured by frost. Gooseberries, currants,
cherries, pear and peach trees, add a share of both honey and pollen.
Sugar maple (_Acer Saccharinum_) now throws out its ten thousand silken
tassels, beautiful as gold. Strawberries modestly open their petals in
invitation, but, like "obscure virtues," are often neglected for the
more conspicuous Dandelion, and the showy appearance and flagrant
blossoms of the apple-trees, which now open their stores, offering to
their acceptance a real harvest.

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