Floral Phenology, Nectar Secretion Dynamics, and Honey Production Potential, of Two Lavender Species (Lavandula Dentata, and L. Pubescens ) in Southwestern Saudi Arabia

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The aim of the current study was to determine the floral phenology, nectar secretion dynamics, and honey production potentials of two naturally growing lavender species (L. dentata and L. pubescens), in southwestern Saudi Arabia. In both species, flowering is continuous. This means that, when open flowers on a spike are shaded, new flowers emerge. Such a flowering pattern might be advantageous to the plant to minimise competition for pollinators and promote efficient resource allocation. The flowering periods of the two species overlap. Both species secreted increasing amounts of nectar from early morning to late afternoon. The mean maximum volumes of accumulated nectar from bagged flowers occurred at 15:00 for L. pubescens (0.50 ± 0.24 μL/flower) and at 18:00 for L. dentata (0.68 ± 0.19 μL/flower). The volume of the nectar that became available between two successive measurements (three-h intervals) varied from 0.04 μL/flower to 0.28 μL/flower for L. pubescens and from 0.04 μL/flower to 0.35 μL/ flower for L. dentata, This variation reflects the differences in the dynamics of nectar secretion by these species, and indicates the size of the nectar that may be available for flower visitors at given time intervals. The distribution of nectar secretions appears to be an adaptation of the species to reward pollinators for longer duration. Based on the mean amount of nectar sugar secreted by the plants, the honey production potentials of the species are estimated to be 4973.34 mg and 3463.41 mg honey/plant for L. dentata and L. pubescens, respectively.

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