The bee bee tree, Tetradium daniellii, is favored by both bees and beekeepers because of its bloom time. In mid to late summer (July and August) when nectar is scarce, the bee bee tree produces masses of flat white flower clusters reminiscent of elderberry blooms. The flowers are small, fragrant, sometimes tinged with pink or yellow, and extremely attractive to honey bees and other pollinators.
The tree can grow 40 feet tall, although 25-30 feet is more common. The bark is smooth and gray and the deciduous leaves are dark green and glossy. In autumn the leaves change little, falling once they turn faintly yellow. The seed pods are reddish to purple and each one contains two shiny black seeds that are highly prized by birds of all types.
Although the tree is not generally considered invasive, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has included it on their “watch list” because it has become problematic in some areas. It grows freely in USDA hardiness zones 4-8, prefers full sun, and is tolerant of a wide range of soil pH.
The bee bee tree is in the Rutaceae family—the same family as citrus trees. In the past the plant has been known as Evodia daniellii and Euodia daniellii. Commonly, it is also referred to as the Korean Bee Tree.