Forest Elder for Honey Bees

Nuxia floribunda, or the Forest Elder, is native to the moist regions of central tropical Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. In South Africa it is found from the Southern Cape to KZN and the Northern Provinces.  The honey bees love the Bosvlier with it sweetly scented cream colour flowers producing an abundance of nectar, flowering (or flowing if you are a beekeeper) between April and September, with good flowering sometimes occurring outside the normal periods.   It is a super honey producing tree and has even been recorded once as producing a ‘white’ honey.  This moisture loving plant grows between 3m and 10m tall and is found in forests and on forest margins in the coastal and mountain forest belt, and watercourses.

“The genus Nuxia was named in honour of M. de la Nux, a French amateur botanist on Reunion Island, and the species name floribunda translates as many-flowered or flowering profusely, in reference to the floriferous nature of the tree. The very descriptive Zulu name umHlambandlazi literally means mousebird-washer.  The forest elder has a number of useful attributes. As a traditional Zulu medicine the bark is used as a strengthening medicine after a kraal (village) member has passed away, while in other parts of Africa the leaves are recorded being used to treat coughs, colds, influenza, fevers, indigestion, infantile convulsions as well as in rituals. Nectar is produced in abundance making this a good honey tree.  The wood is a pale yellow, is close-grained and is hard and heavy. As a result it is used for fencing and general carpentry, as well as for furniture, turnery and fuel and previously in the construction of wagons.” Sanbi.org

The beauty of the Forest Elder, its abundant nectar and its honey bee plant value make this a great tree for our gardens.

FOREST ELDER BEE PLANT VALUE  N1-3 P0-2?

Saving our bees is not just about making less toxic environments for them. We also need to focus on what we feed them. Like us they need a balanced diet. A healthy spread of pollen and nectar from a good diverse selection of flowers to choose from. From these flowers they forage for protein from pollen and they get their carbohydrates, sugars, from nectar. Bee-effective and plant Good Bee Food, for you and your honey bees.

Click here and select your province to find more great plants for honey bees.

Honey bee visits Forest Elder : image ©Colyn Serfontein, Nelspruit.  Ref: sanbi.org / Beeplants of South Africa, M.F. Johannsmeier

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