bee tree

thisbud4u(San Diego)November 10, 2006

Here are some pictures of the tree I mentioned in an earlier post. The bees have been all over this tree to the exclusion of anything else on the farm. Turns out this tree is a Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) and is a dangerous invasive non-native tree in parts of the country (Florida, mainly I think) but seems to be pretty well-behaved here in southern California. I'm just dying to taste the honey from my hives, which will most certainly be primarily Brazilian pepper tree honey. The catch is, this tree belongs in the cashew family, also known as the poison ivy family, and lots of people have reported being allergic to the bark, sap and pollen from this tree. I'm just hoping the honey won't give me a rash. Given the info from prior posts on this forum, I think I'll be fine. Apparently it's very rare that the nectar, and hence the honey, resembles the plant from which it came. For example, orange blossom honey doesn't smell like oranges. The fact that nectar is so different from its parent plant is most curious, even mysterious. Why should that be?

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thisbud4u(San Diego)

Followup: Someone on another forum found some info that sugests that honey from the Brazilian pepper tree has a peppery taste, making it unsuitable for table use. Here's the link:
http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:cS_JshBrQo8J:tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/documnts/schiter.pdf+Schinus+terebinthifolius+honey&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4
You have to read down to page 7 for the part about the honey.
I can't believe my bad luck. The only tree whose honey tastes like the tree is in my neighbors yard, so I can't even cut it down, and it will doubtless spoil a good portion of the honey the bees produce since it s such a monster tree. Just one more reason to eradicate this damn invasive non-native species of tree.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 12:14AM
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txbeeguy(z8 TX)

I'd keep an open mind as to what to expect. The article states that the honey has found local acceptance - so it can't be all bad! And besides, how honey tastes to one person doesn't mean everyone will either agree or disagree. One of our club members (past president) hates the taste of orange blossom honey and I personally think it tastes great - certainly out of the ordinary and different from your run-of-the-mill honey but I certainly don't dislike the flavor of it. We also get local (north Texas) honey on occasion, that has a touch of horsemint in it which has what I can only describe as an "after-taste" with a bite to it - some people like it but I'm not particularly fond of it. We also can get Spring honey from the cotton blossoms in our area - I've heard a few people describe it as having a 'musty' taste or odor to it but I couldn't really describe it that way myself. It's got a little bit of a cloudiness to it's appearance but tastes okay to me (if just average). I've even brought myself to taste testing some Autumn aster honey! If you can hold your nose and not smell the stuff, the actual honey doesn't taste half bad! (BUT I'm content to let the bees have it for THEIR Winter stores ).

In short, I wouldn't put a lot of stock in what the article says, but rather judge for yourself. In fact, I'd be interested to know what you think of the honey coming from this Brazilian pepper tree. Please post a follow-up when you've had a chance to taste it.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 1:31PM
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thisbud4u(San Diego)

txbeeguy, I hope to get into the hives this week, so I'll post a followup if the bees don't kill me (you may recall my earlier post on "unprofessional beekeeping?" in which I mentioned that these bees have gotten REALLY defensive, or rather really aggressive, in the past few months. This time, I'll make sure the beekeeper does the right thing and calms the bees down with a smoker, (or maybe that BeeQuick stuff if we can get ahold of some), but this is the first time we'll be going back in after that alarming incident, so I'm a tad apprehensive. Still, I'm willing to risk it to see what kind of honey we got.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 10:22PM
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thisbud4u(San Diego)

Hi txbeeguy. Well, the results are in, and the honey is not too bad. In fact, it's pretty good. It sort of has a peppery smell, and it is rich-tasting, but not too terribly overpowering. I suspect that there must be other stuff in there as well besides the pepper tree honey. Still, all in all, it's not a bust.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 8:19PM
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txbeeguy(z8 TX)

Has a peppery smell, huh? Does it make you sneeze?

It most likely does have some other nectar sources mixed in. Which will usually be the case unless you've got hundreds of acres of the stuff(!).

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 9:50PM
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thisbud4u(San Diego)

Actually, the more I eat of this honey, the more I like it. Deep rich orange color. Has to have other stuff in it. Hundreds of acres, nothing. Unliike some unmentionable parts of the world, southern California is awash in flowers 24/7/365.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 12:25AM
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