BEST PLANTS FOR HONEY BEES
This group includes plants that do not grow or are rarely found in nature, but they are the best honey plants and sown specifically for honey collection:
1. Ligularia Sibirica (L.) Cass: A perennial herb of Aster family (Asteraceae), 30-125 cm. It has a ribbed bare stem, in the bottom, it is the reddish-purple or green. Basal leaves are cordate or ovate, with a deep neckline, jagged, large, and wide, on long petioles. The leaves are mostly green; sometimes there are forms and varieties with burgundy or brown leaves. It is winter-resistant, winters without shelter. It is a good honey plant. It flowers in July and August. It actively secretes nectar and pollen, so it is eagerly visited by bees.
2. Valerian officinal is L.: Another perennial herb of the family Valerianaceae, 50-150 cm tall with short thick rhizome with numerous brownish-yellow roots. The stem is erect, hollow, cylindrical, grooved; at the bottom, it is purple almost to a half. The leaves are pinnate, opposite, root, on long petioles, upper are sessile. The flowers are pale pink or pale violet, fragrant, clustered in semi umbels at the tips of stems and lateral branches. It grows in the meadows, forest edges, in lower places. The soil does not matter. It grows often near swamps and rivers. It flowers in July and August. The flowers produce nectar, but since there are a lot of honey plants blooming in that time, the bees are not particularly active in visiting this plant. From one plant the bees produce 0.0137 g of honey. Honey productivity is 20-100 kg per 1 ha.
3. Oregano – Origanum vulgare L. It is a perennial herbaceous essential oil and honey plant of the family Labiatae, 30-60 cm (15-30”) tall with an oblique rhizome. Stems are erect, four-sided, reddish, branched at the top, soft-hairy. Leaves are petiolate, opposite, oblong-ovate, entire. The flowers are small light purple or lilac-pink, two-lipped in the sinuses of dark red bracts, are collected in the corymbose paniculate inflorescence. The whole plant is covered with hairs, very fragrant. The fruit splits into four rounded brown nuts. It grows in full sun, in dry, sandy soils, among bushes, forest edges. It blooms from July until the first frost. Flowers secrete nectar, are actively visited by bees. Honey productivity from 1 ha is 80 kg. Honey is flavored, has an amber color with a greenish tinge.
4. Burnet drug – Sanguisorba Officinalis L. It is a perennial herb of the family Rosaceae with a height of 20 – 80 cm. The stem is mostly solitary, slightly branching in the upper part, hollow, glabrous, erect, up to 1 meter (40”). Root leaves are large, pinnate, with 7-25 toothed blue-gray from the bottom leaves, upper leaves are smaller, sessile. The flowers are small, dark, almost black-purple, assembled in oval, 1-3 cm long heads on long stalks. At the edge of the concave receptacle, there is a glandular disc, secreting nectar. The fruit is the achene. It does not grow in its natural state. Burnet can be grown in gardens, orchards or home gardens. It flowers in July – August. Bees actively collect pollen from the flowers and nectar.
5. Coriander seed – Coriandrum sativum L. It is an annual plant of Celery family (Apiaceae). It flowers in June, July, and August, depending on the time of sowing. Petals are white or pale pink, clustered in an umbrella. The flowers produce nectar and are actively visited by bees. Honey productivity is 60-120 kg per 1 ha, in favorable weather – 200-500 kg per 1 ha. Coriander is sown at different times to prolong the period of the honey flow. The seed rate is 1.5-2 g of seeds per 1 m2.
6. Maral root (Rhaponticum carthamoides) – (Willd.) Iljin. It is a rhizome perennial herbaceous plant of the aster family (Asteraceae) in height 100-180 cm. Underground plant organs have a specific smell, composed of dark brown horizontal branching rhizomes with numerous thin, coarse roots up to 20 cm. Rhizome forms from 5 to 20 vegetative shoots, with a rosette of 3-4 large, stemmed leaves, 60-100 cm long, 6-21 cm wide. Leaves are pinnate. 1-2 generative shoots have hollow, ribbed or almost naked stems 100-150 cm tall, with small sessile leaves. Baskets are apical, single, with a diameter of 4-8 cm. Tubular flowers are bisexual, pentamerous, and violet-pink. Seeds are elliptical, gray-brown, ribbed, 6-8 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, with short fringed edges. It is propagated by seeds and vegetative, but vegetative propagation is predominant. In its natural state, it grows in the alpine and subalpine meadows. This plant is frost-resistant. It blooms in June. The seeds ripen in August. Flowering lasts 15 – 20 days. Bees take nectar and pollen from the flowers. Honey productivity depends on the meteorological conditions and is 83-120 kg per 1 ha.
7. Melissa (lemon mint) – Melissa officinalis L. It is a herbaceous perennial rhizome essential plant of Lamiaceae family with a height of 45-90 cm (15-35”), with a pleasant lemon scent that attracts bees. Stems are quadrangular, branched. The leaves are opposite, ovate, crenate-serrate, pubescent. Flowers are irregular, two-lipped, white. The calyx is campanulate.There are four stamens, pistil with the upper ovary and long style. The fruit consists of four small egg-shaped nuts, enclosed in a cup. It grows among shrubs, forest edges, on wastes. It is cultivated in plantations of medicinal and essential oil plants. It flowers for 30-40 days. The flowers secrete nectar well. Honey productivity is 130 – 200 kg. Because the plant is very fragrant, people rub the hives to attract swarms, as well as hands before working with the families of bees.
8. Borage – Borago officinalis L. It is an annual honey plant of Borage family (Boraginaceae), 40-90 cm tall. The stem is branched, covered with stiff hairs. The lower leaves are ovate-oblong, petiolate, wrinkled, upper – oblong-lanceolate, sessile. It smells like fresh cucumbers. It has pinkish buds. The flowers are beautiful, blue, drooping, small, with 5-petal, conjoined, rotate corolla, gathered in curls. It grows wild as a weed in gardens, vegetable gardens, in landfills, cultivated on plantations. It flowers from June until frost and secretes nectar and pollen very ample. Bees actively visit the plant, even during a small drizzle. Honey collection is very high. From 1 ha of plants, you can get 230-300 kg of honey. In favorable weather, it increases up to 850 kg per 1 ha of continuous thickets.
9. Ordinary bruise – Echium vulgare L. It is a biennial plant of the family Boraginaceae, 30-90 cm tall, the stem is erect, height is 30-50 cm, sometimes 90 cm, the whole plant is covered with hairs. The leaves are lanceolate, 5-10 cm long, leaves are sessile, linear-lanceolate. The flowers are beautiful, small, funnel-shaped, bright blue (with pink buds), gathered in curls, and then in paniculate inflorescences. Fruits are brownish nuts. It grows like a weed between cultivated plants. In the wild, it grows in the raw and waste places. It blooms from June to September. Flowers abundantly secrete nectar and pollen and are actively visited by bees. From one hectare you can get 250-300 kg of honey. Honey has very high quality, light amber color and has an excellent taste and does not crystallize.
10. Phacelia – Phacelia Juss. The most common is Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth. – an annual herb of the family Hydrophyllaceae. The first blue flowers appear in 30-40 days after sowing. Bees actively take the nectar and pollen. Honey harvest is 120-500 kg per 1 ha. Honey is a light green or amber, has a pleasant aroma and delicate flavor.