Turkish Honey, Trader Joe’s, and an Entomology Lesson.

 The suspect.

So, I was at Trader Joe’s last night for some groceries. I grabbed a bottle of their “Turkish Honey” and was about to toss it in my cart when something on the label caught my eye. It read: “Produced by bees foraging nectar primarily from Rock Rose, Citrus, Wildflowers, & Turkish Pines.”

If you know anything about plants, your head may have just exploded.

 Pinus brutia (Turkish pine)

If you don’t, let me explain. Pine trees belong to a branch of the plant lineage called conifers, and one of the defining characteristics of a conifer is that it doesn’t have flowers. Not ever. Not even a little. This group split off from the group known as angiosperms, which contains all flowering plants, before flowers even evolved. No flowers, no nectar. As a botanist, the suggestion that bees might be getting nectar from any kind of pine tree caused a minor meltdown in my circuits, right there in the dry goods aisle.

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