If you tell your friends and neighbors that you are growing a “Bee Bee” tree for your bees, they will probably think you are kidding! A magnet for pollinators of all kinds, it is a a great small tree, also known as Korean evodia (Evodia daniellii or Tetradium daniellii). Unknown outside of horticultural circles it deserves wider recognition. The tree is a small ornamental tree, generally no taller than 25 feet, but can reach 40 feet. Dark green leathery leaves provide some shade underneath. Best planted at the edge of woodland areas in partial or full sun or as a stand alone specimen tree, the bark is smooth and gray, like beech tree bark. The Bee Bee grows quickly, sometimes more than two feet a year, and the tree is deciduous and most important – deer resistant.
Blooming in mid to late summer with clusters of long-lasting creamy white flowers, reddish seedpods follow to add some color to the late summer landscape. Few other trees are blooming at this time so the Bee Bee is welcomed by hordes of buzzing bees that literally cover the branches and creates a low roar of sound that will advertise its presence to everyone nearby. My friend only discovered the tree on his large property by the constant noise that made him investigate the source.
Seeds spread easily by birds and because of this trait can be invasive in some situations and on a “watch list species” In PA. Growing in USDA hardiness zones 4-8, this tree is easily grown and available on line by transplants or seeds. I have never seen it available in a commercial retail nursery. For a great reference on the tree, go to the Department of Natural Resources.