Back to Pictures   The Bee Bee Tree

At our November 2009 meeting we talked about the bee bee tree. (In some publications it is spelled bebe tree, bee-bee tree or beebee tree.)  The Bee Bee Tree was introduced to the beekeepers of the United States in two articles published in the bee journals in November and December, 1955.  I do not know which bee journals.  The bee bee tree blooms from about July 15th well into August and that it bears a tremendous number of blossoms.  The bees work it because there is limited nectar during this time period.

The tree grows 15-20 feet but may grow to about forty feet in the open.  It is a handsome addition to any planting of lawn or shade trees. In fruit, the tree is particularly attractive. The seed-bearing  tree takes on a deep burgundy red coloring as the seed pods ripen.   The seed is black/red and is very small about the size of poppy seed.  Two seeds are usually attached to each other. 

More information on the bee bee tree.

BEE BEE Tree or Evodia with commentary
In the mid ' 60's, a beekeeper, Wayne Bower gave some of these seeds to a friend,Wilber Parker, who then raised bees in southern Tusc. Co., Ohio. Our then, County bee inspector, George Benish, visited the Parker residence to perform his inspection. It became twilight and just finishing his inspection, Mr. Benish accepted a glass of refreshment. Everyone sat down on the back porch near the Bee-Bee tree. Mr. Benish noted there were bees still on this blooming tree after dark. The bees liked these blossoms so well they were willing to work them after dark.
[ If you examine the pictures on our web site, each flower head has a lot of bees on it, even after dark. If you stand under the mother tree in bloom, it literally hums with the sounds of bees. They leave little doubt that they really like this tree! ]
In 2007, we became interested in acquiring a Bee-Bee tree but, no one knew where we could get one or the nurseries were sold out.
George Benish, still alive at 84, has been our mentor in bees about 10 years now and upon asking him about a Bee-Bee tree, he said he thought he knew where one was.
Now, this man was 84 years old at this time but, he took me right to the tree! I became friends with the property owner who is the original planter's sister-in-law, and since widowed. She is also related to our family.
There are about four original trees, and since then, the owner has graciously allowed me to place five hives of bees near the trees. The honey from these hives feeding on the Bee-Bee tree has a real fruity flavor and is very pale and clear, or white.
The tree grows to about 45ft. tall, if left untrimmed, but can be trimmed to grow as a shrub. Hardy in zones 4-8, it prefers a well-drained soil,in full sun but, will tolerate some shade. ph 5-7and fertile soil. For germination, no more than an eighth inch soil covering, even moisture control at 65-70deg. Protection
from frost and cold the first year. It blooms in late July-Aug. for about 3 weeks. The bloom is white and looks like elderberry blooms. The seed set starts off green, turning red, then black as fall comes. Growth rate is medium to fast and the bark color is gray and smooth. It has no serious diseases or insect problems and is not on any invasive species list. It is related to the citrus tree, has a distinct fragrance to the foilage and reportedly takes seven years ' til first bloom. Native to Northern Korea and China, it has a high flow of nectar at a time when there is usually a dearth of nectar but, best of all, the bees just love it!
We now offer these trees for sale 1-3 ft. 10.00 3-5 ft. 25.00 plus shipping call 740-254-9257 or go to or
Thanks to Randy & Amy Rybarczyk for the information and pictures. (email-

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