Did you know? honey edition

Honey made from rhododendron flowers is toxic?

Rhododendrons, azaleas and their cousin the mountain laurel are all deadly poisonous narcotics so, consequently, the honey made from their flowers is toxic as well! I found this information on page 221 in the book The Encyclopedia of Poisons and Antidotes by Carol Turkington and Deborah Mitchell.

There are hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons. The Illustrated Rhododendron by Pat Halliday is full of beautifully colored drawings of different species and varieties, along with a list of rhododendron species.

Honey has been around for thousands of years. In the book The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci there is a piicture of a rock painting that shows a woman gathering honey. It was found near Valencia, Spain and dates to around 6000 B.C. I loved the color pencil artwork and the way the information was laid out in this book, with detailed drawings of the honey making process, a worker bee, and the ‘Tail-Wagging Dance’. Another thing that it has is a menu of different kinds of honey: Clover, Tupelo, Orange Blossom and several others.

Honey has also been used medicinally and in cooking for centuries. Nathania Altman’s book The Honey Prescription tells the history, preparations and the illnesses you can treat using honey. We also have several cookbooks featuring the use of honey: Honey I’m Homemade by May Berenbaum and Healthy Honey Cookbook by Larry Lonik are just a couple of them.

Many people keep their own bee hives. Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees by Malcolm T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney is an excellent reference book that has drawings and simplified explanations to help you every step of the way, while Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad shows you how to keep your honey organic.

But, bees aren’t only famous for making honey and pollinating things. You really can’t talk about bees without mentioning spelling bees. The story of Akeela and the Bee by James Whitfield Ellison is an inspirational story of a young girl headed for trouble, who turns herself around on her journey to the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee. We have it available in book or movie format. If you need help with your spelling, for a spelling bee or just everyday writing, How to Spell Like a Champ by Barrie Trinkle, Carolyn Andrews and Paige Kimble has tips to help you learn to become a master speller. You may never need spell check again!

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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