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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does this plant produce a toxic honey? I read conflicting things online. I know some Andromeda do but some places say this particular Japonica doesn’t. I’ve got tons of it growing wild on my property.
 

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Does this plant produce a toxic honey?
Probably does, but the more relevant question may be: Is honey produced in the vicinity of Pieris Japonica toxic?

I have at least two Pieris Japonica plants (not to mention LOTS of rhododendron, azalea, and mountain laurel) on my property, and will see bumble bees and carpenter bees collecting nectar from the Pieris, and occasionally from the mountain laurel. Regarding honey bees, I rarely see them near the Pieris and never near the other plants listed.

In my area, Pieris Japonica blooms pretty early, so any nectar would very likely never make it into a super. The other plants listed bloom during the same period of time when our major honey producers are blooming (tulip poplar, holly, black locus). My * belief * is that these plants present virtually no risk to yourself or others who consume your local honey. Perhaps if you lived next to a commercial nursery with acres of Pieris Japonica you might need to be concerned, but a few plants in your neighborhood, I suspect represents very little risk.


Here's a good article to put the fear a bit more in perspective: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404272/


Note in the article that some traditional Chinese medicines purposely use grayanotoxin to treat a variety of health conditions.
 

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>will see bumble bees and carpenter bees collecting nectar from the Pieris,

Agreed. I do not see honeybees working it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool. Thanks. I never see honey bees on it but just wanted to get more info. I’ll let the plants be. It was going to be a hassle to bush hog the area. The only pollinator I’ve ever seen on them is once I saw a bumble bee on them.
 

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We have lots of Pieris shrubs that bloom in late winter when not many other plants are in bloom. About 15% pollen found in my hives during 3/1 - 3/15/19 came from Pieris, but only 2.5% throughout March. I do not think they had a chance to accumulate much nectar during this period anyway, because the hive did not gain significant weight until the first week of April. Yeah, so like you said, let the plants be. They are pretty.
 

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Curious, how did you arrive at those pollen percentages? Was this done with some type of lab testing, or simply visual ID?
I collected pollen chunks from under the screen bottom board every morning and looked under microscope (x800) to ID. I had collected reference pollen samples to compare with, from most of plants in the neighborhood.

Between 3/1/19 - 3/15/19, I collected 57 pollen samples and found Osoberry (12), willow (9), Pieris (9), crocus (7), hazelnut (6), camellia (3), Cornelian cherry (2), heath (2), viburnum (2), dandelion (1), and unknown (4).

Here are how pieris, camellia, and crocus look like at x800.
pieris.jpg camellia.jpg crocus.jpg
 

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I collected pollen chunks from under the screen bottom board every morning and looked under microscope (x800) to ID. I had collected reference pollen samples to compare with, from most of plants in the neighborhood.

Between 3/1/19 - 3/15/19, I collected 57 pollen samples and found Osoberry (12), willow (9), Pieris (9), crocus (7), hazelnut (6), camellia (3), Cornelian cherry (2), heath (2), viburnum (2), dandelion (1), and unknown (4).

Here are how pieris, camellia, and crocus look like at x800.
Very impressive!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!
 
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