Open Access
BIO Web Conf.
Volume 16, 2019
“Results and Prospects of Geobotanical Research in Siberia”, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the laboratory of ecology and geobotany of CSBG SB RAS
Article Number 00013
Number of page(s) 4
Published online 15 October 2019

© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019

Licence Creative CommonsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Honey plants were actively examined in 20 century; nowadays the interest to this theme is still alive. The importance of the melliferous group studying is connected with the wish of customers to know the botanical composition of honey and its origin with the aim to identify falsifications.

The information on the species content of this group is regularly enriched thanks to publications. For example, A. N. Burmistrov, V. A. Nikitina [1] gave the characteristic of 88 melliferous plants. M. K. Hushnazarov [2] reported that in vegetation cover of the reserve “Romit” (Tajikistan) from 1240 wild plant species the fifth part are milleferous or beebread flowers. In the reserve “Shulgan-tash” (Bashkiria) melissopalynological analyses of honey, pollen pellet, beebread have been made. As a result, 187 milleferous and beebread plant species were revealed [3].

For the purpose of investigation of botanical and geographical origin of Russian honeys R. G. Kuminov, A. R. Ishbirdin [4] conducted the palynological analyses of 119 samples of honey from 31 regions of Russia. The content of studied samples included pollen of 183 taxa from 51 families. The authors presented photos of 40 pollen of honey species identified in samples.

In the rich and divers flora of the Russian Far East 90 primary, 100 secondary and more than 100 weak melliferous plants have been revealed. The most valuable are all species of Tilia, Acer, Salix, Phellodendron amurense Rupr., Padus maackii (Rupr.) Kom., Kalopanax septemlobus (Thunb.) Koidz., Aralia elata (Miq.) Seem., Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. et Maxim.) Maxim., Lespedeza bicolor Turcz., Rubus crataegifolius Bunge etc. [5].

Melliferous capacity of the territory is mostly depended on the area on which the honey plants grow and less on the diversity of species content. V. N. Kulakov [6] examined melliferous sources in Russian federation (RF) and payed attention that there are melliferous lands the contribution of which in the honey potential is high. For example, the vegetation of burnt areas, felling sites, open forests etc. produces 2.5 milliards kg of honey (22 % of the whole deposit of honey in the country). These lands occupy a vast territories (101.7 mil. ha), but have less melliferous capacity. Moreover, big part of those lands is situated in the territories that hard to reach with not always suitable climatic conditions for bee farming. The plantings of entomophile cultures occupy 27.6 thousand ha (4 % from all of melliferous cultures of RF) and produce 1.7 milliards kg, that is 15 % from all potential deposit of RF. The highest value in creation of the melliferous storage belongs to the forest and other natural melliferous vegetation sources − 84 % from the total maximum potential. Altai Territory has high relative input of agricultural crops in potential honey deposit − 88 % [6].

Determination of geographical origin of honey is based on that fact that the whole spectrum of pollen corresponds with the flora of the region in which the honey is gathered and with the standard spectrum or descriptions of botanical content, published in the literature [7]. For the identification of the honey from Spain, for example, can be used the results of the following investigation. O. Escuredo, M. Fernandez-Gonzalez, M. C. Seijo [8] carried out melissopalynological analyses of 86 honey samples, gathered in north-western part of Spain, and revealed 90 types of pollen. Castanea sativa, Cytisus-type and Rubus occurred in 100 % of samples, as well as Erica in 97,7 % and Eucalyptus in 86 %. In addition, the pollen of Echium, Quercus и Trifolium-type frequently appeared. Pollen of Salix, Crataegus monogyna-type, Campanula-type, Conium maculatum-type, Frangula alnus, Lotus-type, Lithodora and Myosotis comprised 3 % of the pollen spectrum and had a big value in honey. Fifty types of pollen occurred in several samples (less than 10 %).

The present study was aimed to examine the melliferous flora of Northern and NorthWestern Altai in the area of Altai Territory on the territories of four administrative districts. It has a goal to reveal plant species which pollen existence characterize authenticity of local honeys. According to the scheme of botanic-geographical zonation of Altai Territory, the territory of Altaijskiy, Smolenskiy, Soloneshenskiy districts belongs to North Altai, and Charyshskiy − to the Northwesternaltai botanic-geographical regions in North-Altai-North-Westernaltai floristic area. The vegetation cover of those districts is characterized by diversity of vegetation types from low- to uplands: steppes, meadows, mires, fir and mixed forests, riparian and littoral vegetation.

V.I. Vereschagin [10] have written that there are different formation of forests, meadows and wetlands in Altai Territory, which are different in milleferous plants’ composition. The list of milleferous (nectariferous, polliniferous) plants is compiled based on the published data [4,5,911]. We give status of milleferous to the species which nature was confirmed by the bee farming experience, and, in addition, by examine of the flower’s structure and existence of pollen from mellitophilae plants in honey. For the identification of pollen in the samples of honey, we compare it with the pollen from flowering plants and from taken herbarium specimen. There are some important conditions for the good quality identification of pollen in honey. They are resolving power of the microscope and existence of preserved pollen samples of identified milleferous species. In 2015, we created the collection of recent pollen of 341 honey plant species and 103 specimen of honey. For the pollen identification we used works of L. V. Kupriyanova, L. A. Aljoshina [12], R. G. Kurmanov, A. R. Ishbirdin [4], Austrian database of the project PONET (Pollen, [13], containing the high resolution images of pollen of 800 plant species from regional and adventive flora.

According our data the group of melliferous plants in examined districts includes in Altaiskiy − 326 species, Smolenskiy − 343, Soloneshenskiy − 364, Charyshskiy − 415 [14]. However, representativeness of melliferous species on the background of floristic diversity in districts is another: Altaiskiy − 56.49 %, Smolenskiy − 60.17 %, Soloneshenskiy − 53.61 %, Charyshskiy − 44.57 %. Such occurrences can be explained by that fact that in Soloneshenskiy and Charyshskiy districts vegetation communities are more different with many species that not presented in two other districts, especially species that are not melliferous. The melliferous qualities are not examined for many species of high lands.

We have made the calculation of frequency of the botanical taxa pollen among 1000 pollen grains in each specimen made from honeys from each of four districts. We will show the examples of the most representative samples of honey. In the specimen of angelica (djagilevyj) honey from Charyshskiy district the high content of pollen from the families Apiaceae (59.92 %), Brassicaceae (11.98 %), Fabaceae (8.26 %) и Rosaceae (7.29 %) is presented. In addition, in small concentration the pollen grains of the following families have been found Valerianaceae (5.83 %), Asteraceae (4.86 %), Polygonaceae (1.62 %), Pinaceae (0.16 % − occasional import of pollen) and Tiliaceae (0.08 % − Tilia is growing frequently in artificial plantings around apiary which the sample of honey was taken from).

In the sample of angelica (djagilevyj) honey from Soloneshenskiy district the pollen from Apiaceae (76.54 %), Brassicaceae (10.26 %), Asteracerae (3.62 %), Fabaceae (3.36 %), Lamiaceae (2.86 %), Rosaceae (2.44 %), Polemoniaceae (0.50 %), Liliaceae (0.34 %) and Polygonaceae (0.08 %) families has been identified.

In the sample of angelica (djagilevyj) honey from Altajskiy district the proportion of the pollen was the following: Apiaceae (76.86 %), Asteracerae (10.36 %), Rosaceae (5.87 %) and Brassicaceae (6.91 %).

In the sample of polyfloral honey from Smolenskiy district: Brassicaceae (36.23 %), Polygonaceae (26.69 %), Fabaceae (14.65 %), Rosaceae (8.38 %), Asteraceae (6.84 %), Ranunculaceae (6.45 %), Apiaceae (0.48 %), Boraginaceae (0.28 %).

In the districts under the examine farmers traditionally plant the following agricultural crops which are in the same time milleferous plants and become the base of monofloral honeys: Helianthus annuus L., Fagopyrum esculentum Moench., Brassica napus L., Onobrychis arenaria (Kit.) DC.; rare plant − Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth., Galega orientalis Mill., Sinapis alba L. Those crops are usual for many regions and their pollen will be found in honeys from different territories. And only the floristic composition of wild species is important for determination of the honey authenticity. For the honeys from examined districts of Altai Territory the pollen of the following species are typical: Angelica decurrens (Ledeb.) B. Fedtsch., Pastinaca sylvestris Mill., species of genus Heracleum L. etc.; Asteracerae − Achillea L., Bidens L., Centaurea L., Cichorium intybus L., Sonchus L., Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F. H. Wigg. etc.; Caryophyllaceae − Dianthus L., Cerastium L., Stellaria L. etc.; Fabaceae − species of genus Lathyrus L., Medicago L., Trifolium L. etc.; Geraniaceae − Geranium L.; Lamiaceae − Dracocephalum L., Origanum vulgare L., Thymus L. etc.; Onagraceae − Chamaenerion angustifolium (L.) Scop., species of genus Epilobium L.; Rosaceae − Fragaria L., Padus avium Mill., Rosa L., Rubus L. etc.; Valerianaceae − species of genus Valeriana L.

Among the relicts in studied areas, the potential milleferous have been found. They are Cimicifuga foetida L., Corydalis nobilis (L.) Pers., Geranium robertianum L., Viola mirabilis L., Epilobium montanum L., Myosotis krylovii Serg., Pulmonaria mollis Wulf. ex Hornem., Stachys sylvatica L., Galium odoratum (L.) Scop., Campanula latifolia L., Adonis villosa Ledeb., Thalictrum petaloideum L., Paeonia hybrida Pall., Gymnospermium altaicum (Pall.) Spach., Lychnis chalcedonica L., Potentilla rupestris L., Astragalus glycyphyllos L., Scrophularia altaica Murr., Alfredia cernua Cass. etc. In the middle lands and high lands the relicts of tall grasses occurs Saussurea latifolia Ledeb., Allium ledebourianum Schult. et Schult. fil., Sanguisorba alpina Bunge [15].

One of the most important thing for the determination of geographical origin of examined honey samples is the skills of the specialists in identification of pollen “markers” from the local territory, which has small distribution areas. For that purpose, it is needed to form collections of pollen of these plants and to publish catalogue with descriptions and images. In addition, for elaboration of studied honeys it is necessary to compare botanical composition of pollen with other databases of honeys from the other regions.


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