The potential of marginal lands for bees and apiculture: nectar secretion in Mediterranean shrublandsT. Petanidou and E. Smets
Botanical Institute, Laboratory of Systematics, Catholic University of Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierlaan 92, B-3001 Heverlee (Leuven), Belgium
Abstract - We studied the floral nectar production (volume, concentration, total sugar content) of 76 species of a phryganic community near Athens, Greece. The mean values per flower are 0.76 μl, 55.1 % and 0.43 mg, respectively. The median date of flowering is not related to any of the nectar values measured. By contrast, family and life-form memberships, together with flower depth and shape, are related to nectar parameters. Labiatae are by far the most nectar-rewarding species of the community, contrasting mainly to Compositae. Therophytes produce significantly less nectar than herbaceous perennials. Species with flowers > 4 mm deep yield more nectar than those with shallow flowers. As a consequence, similar patterns are shown by the floral shapes. Nectar concentration is negatively correlated with flower depth. Our data allow us to estimate the apiculture potential of phrygana. A knowledge of this potential may lead to a better management of these areas, which may also benefit both the local flora and native pollinating fauna.
Key words: nectar production / flower characteristic / Mediterranean shrubland / bee / apiculture