This book contains a vast quantity of precious data about plants and bees and it is marvellous to see it in print once again. Best of all would be if people selecting trees become aware of this useful information and consult it to inform their choice: nowadays we need whenever possible to choose species and cultivars with value to bees and other insect pollinators.
The meticulous work of gathering data and compiling it into this useful book was a labour of love for Eva Crane and her team. It was the outcome of many years’ scrutiny of the world’s research literature – across many languages, and carefully recording any data pertaining to plants visited by honey bees. By the 1980’s Eva Crane and her team had considerable data on thousands of plant species, each of them reported somewhere in the world to be major sources of honey. They then began the task of selecting from this lengthy list, those 467-plant species which could make it to the short list and be justifiably described as the ‘Important world honey sources’ of the book’s title. For each plant species, data is provided on its economic and other uses, how much nectar/pollen and/or honeydew it provides, honey flow data (if any exist), and concerning the honey’s chemical and physical properties.
Much of the research that is cited here is from meticulous 20th century field work, watching bees and recording their behaviour – long before the digital era – and of course the observations remain valid. The entries may look at first impenetrable – but persevere to learn the codes and once you begin using this book, you will become addicted to consulting it and the interesting body of work upon which it is built.
Eva Crane, Penelope Walker and Rosemary Day
2018 reprint 384 pages softcover