Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Magnolia Family
Other members of the magnolia family include several species of flowering magnolia trees. The beautiful flowering blossoms of these magnolias often produce large quantities of pollen. Pollen is important to the honey bees as a source of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Tuliptree is a heavy producer of nectar, a carbohydrate and the source of honey. When the bees mix the pollen and nectar to produce bee bread, they make a complete diet for their brood. The towering tuliptree produces nectar from large, tulip-shaped blossoms. Each flower only produces nectar for about a day and a half. However, during its relatively short blooming period, one of these large trees may produce nine pounds of nectar. From this nectar, the bees may produce two to two and a half pounds of honey. Tuliptree honey, considered to be of good quality, is reddish amber in color and rather strong if flavor. I am sure that on a cold Kentucky morning Randolph enjoys a breakfast of fried rabbit and hot, buttered biscuits with tuliptree honey.