The ferruginous rhododendron or mountain azalea grows only at altitude (1,500 meters and more), where the forest gives way to the moor. It can be up to a meter high. It is still found in some protected areas in the Alps and the Pyrenees (where our rhododendron honey comes from).
Flowering and harvest
The pink or red flowers bloom in June-July. Rhododendron honey is harvested from late July to early September. Due to the unpredictability of flowering, the low number of beekeepers who produce it and the scarcity of rhododendron, harvests are minimal. Rhododendron honey has a yellowish-white, very clear color. As it ages, honey becomes harder and harder and clearer, until it is almost white. It keeps very well.
Rhododendron honey has little flavor. Its aroma is slightly fruity and sweet. It offers flowery notes.
This honey is very popular with beekeepers. But there are only a few production regions in France, which does not make it possible to make it a mass-market product. In addition, due to global warming and the construction of new slopes by ski resorts, the area of development of the plant is decreasing from year to year. Recently, we have seen the arrival on the French market of significant quantities of imported rhododendron honey (Italian, Alpine countries of Central Europe).
It is a reconstituting and anti-rheumatic honey, provided with trace elements, which well deserves its reputation!