Abstract

A melissopalynological study of Omani honeys was undertaken to determine floral sources, and identify pollen types, that would indicate the ecological origins. The study comprised the analysis of 48 honey samples collected during 2001–2003 from 14 locations in the Muscat and Al Batinah regions of Oman. The beehives and nests examined were either those of Apis florea or Apis mellifera bee colonies. A total of 122 pollen types, representing 50 plant families, were identified. Each taxon was categorized as representing a major or minor source of nectar and pollen. Thirty-two honey samples are unifloral types, and the remaining 16 are multifloral. Honey is harvested twice a year in Oman, once in the summer and again in the winter. The pollen data indicate that Ziziphus spina-christi, Prosopis juliflora, Prosopis cineraria and constitute the chief nectar and pollen sources for honeybees in this area during the winter. By contrast during the summer, Acacia tortilis, Citrus sp., Maerua crassifolia, Phoenix dactylifera, Prosopis cineraria, and Prosopis juliflora are the more important nectar sources. This study has identified a wide range of foraging plant sources for honeybees and demonstrates adequate potential for expanding and sustaining beekeeping in Muscat, and in the Al Batinah region. A modern pollen reference collection of 105 local floral species enabled the identification of the pollen types. Seventy-four pollen types were found in the 48 honey samples. The identifications of pollen types are based on both light and scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies of the pollen in the honey and reference samples.

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