Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rhododendron griffithianum

The UC Botanical Garden has so many different kinds of Rhodies, they are in bloom for six months of the year. They start in January or so, and this one, R. griffithianum, is in bloom now, with lovely light and dark pink flowers. The whole plant is toxic, including the nectar, making for some interesting stories. For instance, the ancient Greek poet Homer wrote of Melissai (bee priestesses) who used the Rhodie honey, or mead made from it, to create a religious frenzy, during which they would see visions of the future. If you want to read more about mad honey, try this website:

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