1 minute read

Trees Bees Use

Schefflera volkensii

Paul Latham, Croft Cottage, Forneth, Blairgowrie, PH10 6SW, UK

Schefflera volkensii growing as an epiphyte near Inyala, Tanzania
PHOTO © PAUL LATHAM

Apicultural value

Schefflera volkensii is recommended for honey production.

Family

Araliaceae

Common names

Imogoro

Description

A creeper or tree which is sometimes much branched, spreading up to 24-30 m tall. Schefflera volkensii may grow as an epiphyte on other trees. Leaves are composed of 4-7 leaflets, each up to 15 cm long by 7 cm wide. The leaf stalk is up to 13 cm long.

Ecology

Found in wet or dry upland forest, sometimes in Hagenia woodland or in the bamboo zone at 1,550–2,900 m.

Propagation

The plant can be grown from cuttings, wild seedlings or from seed. Ripe fruit should be collected from the ground and gradually dried. The seed is stored in sealed containers in a dry place. No treatment is required before sowing.

Management

Schefflera volkensii requires supporting when young in order to grow straight.

Uses

The flowers are important bee forage. Bees were seen collecting nectar from Schefflera volkensii in June. A related species, Schefflera abyssinica, is an important source of honey in Ethiopia having abundant pollen and nectar: the honey is pure white and granulation fine. Schefflera wallichiana is an important honey plant in tropical Asia producing up to 60% of the total honey crop.

The wood is used for firewood and charcoal. It can also be grown as a living fence and for shade. The latex from this plant, mixed with honey, is used medicinally to treat colds and coughs.

References are included with this article on our website information portal

WHICH TREES DO YOUR BEES USE? Send information to the address on page 2