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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at a local sawmill yesterday and the owner was talking about a beekeeper that approached him early in the year about putting bees on his land because he has Popcorn trees. I am just looking for some knowledge on a Popcorn tree. Is that the proper name? What kind of honey does it make? Any information is helpful as I've never heard of these.
 

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It's Chinese Tallow. No idea why I know that, it was just filed away in my brain somewhere.
 

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There's a million and one popcorn trees in Mississippi. They are literally EVERYWHERE along with the swamp ti-ti (Cyrilla racemiflora). Both of them bloom at the same time giving southern MS beeks a huge honey flow in early summer. Like myself, I love it!
 

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They grow like a weed and are considered invasive. But their fall foliage is like the trees in the east and they really remind me of the Aspens leaves. If it was just a little bit hilly here they would be gorgeous in this part of Texas.
The limbs and trunks are like Balsa wood and they do not like the cold, or hi winds.
The honey is my favorite as its light in color, easily pours, and extra sweet.
Don't hold a candle to Clover honey in taste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It sounds like i need to get in on this popcorn tree as it seems like it makes a pretty good honey. I appreciate everyone giving me some insight on this tree and the honey.
 

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right now the seed pods are still green and they will dry up and open a little later in year and when the pod covering is dry the seeds are milk white and they look like popcorn kernels. Some people call them Candle Trees also because of the blooms they put out and the oil from the seeds can be pressed and used like lantern fuel. The European Starlings spread them around along with wind and then a heavy rainfall. I've never known any of the seeds not to sprout. And there are thousands on a mature tree.
I'll check with the extension office here and see if I can mail a bag or two when they puff out and can be pulled off without upsetting any laws on shipping seeds. They are invasive. Or I say they are. Worse than fire ants.
Send me a PM and if its legal I'll send you some when the trees do their thing.
 

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These trees are so invasive that I can't imagine planting them on purpose. You won't have to live very long to regret them. You will be weeding them in your flower beds and lawns for years. Your neighbors will hate you. Do not plant these!!
 

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Please walk carefully if you are thinking of planting Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) or (Sapium sebiferum) and is called chicken tree around here. It was brought to the USA with the thought that a commercial sector could be developed around the harvest of the coating on seeds to produce wax (tallow) but it was unfeasible. It does make a nice honey and flows generally in June-July.

However.... The rest of the story

It is now a very aggressive invasive specie that is fast growing with a 3 year old tree having the capacity to produce seeds (that is young for a tree). A six year old can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds that survive in the ground for years until conditions are favorable. The leaves start to have an allopathic effect on the ground around them, repressing almost everything but tallow from germinating. Tree density can be several per square meter and that is a lot of stump spraying if you have just a few acres. If you have more than 20 acres you start looking at aerially options as you almost cannot do it by hand. It has spread like wildfire and is hated. Fallow agriculture fields convert to tallow stands, lightly grazed pastures convert to tallow stands, and it invades native prairie stands slowly but steadily. Mowing makes in laugh and just spread a 1/2 dozen trunks. Dozer plows can knock it back, but a big root missed and it produces a new tree.

It can be controlled and there are millions of dollars spend across the Gulf Coast in herbicides being used to control this stuff. Stuff like Grazon P+D work well when it is used aerially to control it and so does a lot of other stuff. But that also kills almost all forbes as well (Forbes = nectar producers). So while we might like the honey, I see liatris, beebalm, clover, rattlesnake master, and many of the native forbes all getting their teeth knocked out when an area is treated. So when it appears in strength in an area it either takes over and represses other good producers or the areas are sprayed to kill the tallow but have the natives knocked back by the spray. I don't have much as acreage, but it dies immediately on my property. And my hives are all on that land.

Check out Armand Bayou nature center or the Katy Prairie sites for information about the threat of it.

Anyone with any acreage in my area of the Gulf hates it or doesn't care what is going on their land.

Sending these invasive seeds somewhere should be illegal.

In my mind doing it while knowing they will become a pest is :no:. Just bad form in my mind. It is like shipping someone a queen that would have a trait that would increase varroa mites or another pest within the bee keeping community. Or AFB or EFB. Just bad form. Bee keepers would curse you forever. Well if you are land owner and found out bee keepers planted a plant that cost you 20 to 45 dollars an acre to treat every 3 to 5 years, you would feel the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I certainly understand where you are coming from with that last piece of advice. Just hearing what an invasive species this tree is, makes me think twice about planting seeds. I like the idea of the idea of a good tasting honey and a flow in June-July when around here it is slim that time of the year before the fall flow. That has to be a heck of a tree if after 3 years is producing seeds and is able to keep for years until conditions are favorable. I'd rather have clover or dandelions come up than a bunch of leaves sitting on the ground.
 

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Planting the tallow would be insanity. I love the honey, but to plant it would be irresponsible and probably against the law in most places. Texas was trying to eradicate them and LSU is doing a big study on them and watching the migration. We have former pastures around here that have been absolutely overrun. And they are a mess. They make a mess, their seed pods are a mess, the leaves are a mess and when you cut one down, you get ten in its place. They are in the flowerbeds, the sidewalk cracks, under my RV, everywhere. Yes, they make awesome honey and I am glad when they go into bloom, but I spend plenty of time cutting them back off my fences and azaleas. When I see a small one, I pull it. I bushhog bunches. Yea, it's like bamboo, looks nice for a while, but before you know it, it's out of control. Only bamboo takes a good amount of time where tallow can be like wildfire. LITERALLY......
 

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If you live in Beaufort, you aren't far from one right now. Chinese tallow trees have been in coastal SC and GA since the 1700's. Most of the bigger ones and largest pure stands are on the old plantations that have fallen into disrepair. There are a lot of them growing on the barrier islands since they tolerate higher salinity levels. A lot of the research on Chinese tallow has been done by the University of South Carolina (Yes, I am a proud Gamecock!) and/ Clemson on Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown SC. Their seeds and leaves contain a toxin that kills other plants so only they grow. Leaves and seeds are poisonous to people and livestock too. Birds go crazy for the seeds which are very high in fat content, but it gives them purple diarrhea that won't come off white vinyl siding. The trees in Georgetown and Cherry Grove SC were blooming July 4th weekend, and trees were literally humming with bees. If you're interested in trying the honey, don't add to the problem any more by planting. I promise you, you won't want them once you have them. Google some photos of the trees, they have distictive heart shaped leaves and seed pods that resemble crepe myrtle blossoms before they open. Right now, the birds will be mobbing the tree eating the seeds. If you stop by the road you may be able to hear the flock of birds, they will be working the seeds on the tree that hard. Once you find a couple or a stand of them, look up the land owner on the county assessors property map online, and contact the owner about putting a few hives there in the late spring/early summer. Good luck.
 
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