Yellow starthistle migrated to California in an adobe brick (in seed form) from the Mediterranean area in the early 1800s. The star thistle is of the sunflower family. This winter annual is also known as a noxious weed.
The yellow star thistle seed can germinate in the winter and early spring. The young starthistle plants monopolize soil, moisture and nutrients quickly growing above surrounding plants. This adapting plant puts down a deep taproot enabling survival in very dry areas. This star thistle has an arsenal of reproductive tools that allow it to make a successful stand. The starthistle has a seed viability of 95%, producing about 28,500 seeds per square yard. This quick colonizer forms dense stands of 100% star thistle plants and produces a barrage of allelochemicals that prevents growth of all competitive plant species.
This intense plant growth of one flower source is the ideal setting to collect a monofloral honey known as star thistle honey. This floral source produces a honey so lovely that it has been voted America’s Favorite Honey. Gourmet Honey connoisseurs choose star thistle honey to be enjoyed as a light, mild flavored honey that is effervescent, and can be enjoyed at it’s peak with smooth classical music.
Beekeepers seek out the dense stands of star thistle as it is so prolific in nectar production that nectar gathering insects large and small converge on the fields to gather this abundant crop all day long. Most plants do not secrete nectar past the morning hours. This gourmet honey will crystallize within a few weeks of harvest. This does not harm the honey in any way. Some honey users prefer creamed honey. If you want to re-liquefy honey that has crystallized, set the GLASS jar in warm water, (do not exceed 125°). If you use a microwave, do short burst to prevent overheating.
The Gourmet Star Thistle Honey has a wonderful aroma, a light amber color and a very light colored wax is produced by the bees while producing this honey. Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington produce the majority of the star thistle honey in the U.S. California produces the most starthistle honey of any state. The estimated annual production of this gourmet honey, nationwide, is 500,000 pounds.
Although most conniseurs of gourmet honey have a preference of how they enjoy their favorite honey… it has been discovered by laymen that the best way to enjoy star thistle honey is “a cappella”!
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