Tetradium daniellii is such a mouthful of a name for a tree. Especially as this tree can be known as Evodia or “Arbre à miel” or “Arbre aux abeilles”. I first heard it mentioned by bee keepers in France who talked in reverential tones about trees they had seen, but it appeared rare here, and I had never seen one.
I decided to buy one but this proved difficult to source here until I found one listed on the online site Planfor. Here, I made a mistake with my button finger and ended up with an 11 cm. plant! It was duly planted in November of 2014. I did source another larger tree in a pot from another nursery but that tree did not survive, so I had little hope for the 11 cm. stick.
I was wrong to be pessamistic. After a slowish start the tree grew rapidly but I had no idea of how long the tree would take to produce the first flowers. In July of 2018 we had the first flowers from the Bee-Bee tree.
What impressed me most was that the honeybees were attracted to the flowers almost before they opened and worked at the flowers to gain access to the nectar.
I think you can almost see the bee smiling.
The little flowers contain large amounts of nectar and also provide a yellow pollen. It is impressive to see the number of bees of all sorts that the tree attracts.
So this year in January 2020 we bought another Tetradium darlienii from the same online nursery, but with more confidence we invested in a larger potted plant.
We were very excited to see it push forth its new shoots at the end of January. Such pretty new leaves too!
So this year we have had two surprises. Firstly, it flowered in the summer time and secondly the flowers produced seeds!
The seed pods are an attractive pink colour.
As the seeds ripen the pods open to reveal the black seeds. These are reputed to be eaten by the birds but I quickly gathered mine. I will be interested to see if I can germinate them in the springtime.
So why has my first Tertradium not produced any seeds?
Some sources say that the Tetradium daniellii is dioecious – that is that you get male and female flowers on the same plant. That would surely mean that I should have already had seeds on my older tree.
Other sources say that the tree is monoecious – that is individuals either produce male or female flowers.
That would mean that my first tree produces only male flowers and my new tree produces only female flowers.
However, yet other sources say that individuals can be monoecious or dioeceious. So my first tree could be male and my second produce both male and female flowers.
Luckily the bees do not care as both male and female flowers produce the nectar and pollen that they seek.