Flowering and Nectar Secretion in two Forms of the Moldavian Dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavica L.) – A Plant with Extraordinary Apicultural Potential

Open access


Dracocephalum moldavica is a valuable reward plant for flower visitors. The aim of the study was to ecologically characterise its flowers and leaves and assess the seasonal and daily dynamics of flowering in two white- and blue-flowered forms of this species in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, the duration and abundance of plant flowering as well as the nectar amount and sugar content were analysed. The signalling attractants of the plant include an intense scent emitted by trichomes located not only on its flowers but also on its stem and leaf surfaces. The average corolla length is 24 mm and the corolla tube, which can be completely filled with nectar, is 8.6 mm long. The floral lifespan was shown to reach 2-3 days and the mean blooming duration of both forms of dragonhead 45-48 days. The white-flowered plants produced a substantially greater number of flowers (5352) than the blue-flowered form (2965). The nectar amount obtained from ten blue flowers was 15.33 mg and that extracted from white flowers reached 17.56 mg, with 49.4% and 51.5% content of sugar, respectively. The total sugar mass produced by one white-flowered plant was 4656 mg, while one blue-flowered plant yielded 2164 mg of sugars. The sugar yield calculated in the study for the white-flowered form (586 kg · ha−1) was two-fold higher than that in the blue-flowered plants.

Adgaba, N., Al-Ghamdi, A., Tadesse, Y., Getachew, A., Awad, A. M., Ansari, M. J., ... Alqarni, A. S. (2017). Nectar secretion dynamics and honey production potentials of some major honey plants in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 24, 180–191. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2016.05.002

Baker, H. G., & Baker, I. (1983) Floral nectar sugar constituents in relation to pollinator type. In Handbook of experimental pollination biology. New York: Scientific and Academic.

Bornus, L. (red.). (1989). Encyklopedia pszczelarska. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Rolnicze i Leśne.

Brickell, C. (1999). Dracocephalum. Wielka encyklopedia roślin ogrodowych od A do Z. Warszawa: MUZA S.A.

Corbet, E. (1990). Pollination and the weather. Israel Journal of Botany, 39, 13-30.

Dafni, H., Lensky, Y., & Fahn, A. (1988). Flower and nectar characteristics of nine species of Labiatae and their influence on honeybee visits. Journal of Apiculture Research, 27(2), 103-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00218839.1988.11100788

Demianowicz, Z., Hłyń, M., Jabłoński, B., Maksymiuk, I., Podgórska, J., Ruszkowska, B., Szklanowska, K., & Zimna, J. (1960). Wydajność miodowa ważniejszych roślin miododajnych w warunkach Polski. Cz. I. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe, 2, 87-104.

Demianowicz, A., & Gromisz, M. (1998). Morfologia pszczoły. In Pszczelnictwo. Szczecin: Wydawnictwo Promocyjne “Albatros”.

Eiji, S., & Salmaki, Y. (2016). Evolution of trichomes and its systematic significance in Salvia (Mentheae; Nepetoideae; Lamiaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 180, 241–257.

Faegri, K., & van der Pijl, L. (1979). The principles of pollination ecology. Oxford, Pergamon Press Ltd.

Fenster, C. B., Armbruster, W. S., Wilson, P., Dudash, M. R., & Thomson, J. D., (2004). Pollination syndromes and floral specialization. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 35(1), 375-403. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.34.011802.132347

Giuliani, C., Ascrizzi, R., Tani, C., Bottoni, M., Bini, L. M., Flamini, G., Fico, G. (2017). Salvia uliginosa Benth.: Glandular trichomes as bio-factories of volatiles and essential oil. Flora, 233, 12–21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2017.05.002

Haratym, W., & Weryszko-Chmielewska, E. (2017). Ultrastructural and histochemical analysis of glandular trichomes of Marrubium vulgare L. (Lamiaceae). Flora, 231, 11–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2017.04.001

Harborne, J. B. (1997). Ekologia biochemiczna. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Harley, R. M., Atkins, S., Budanstev, A., Cantino, P. D., Conn, B., Grayer, R., ... Upson, T. (2004). Labiatae. In The families and genera of vascular plants, vol. 1. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.

Hegi, G. (1965). Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa, Bd. V, T. 4. München: Carl Hanser Verlag.

Heil, M. (2011). Nectar: generation, regulation and ecological functions. Trends in Plant Science, 16, 191-200. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2011.01.003

Herrera, J. (1985). Nectar secretion patterns in Southern Spanish Mediterranean Scrublands. Israel Journal of Botany 34, 47-58.

Ion, N. (2008). Research regarding the melliferous characteristics of Labiates from xerophile meadows from Danube valley. Lucrări stiinŃifice Zootehnie si Biotehnologii, 41(1), 312-318.

Jabłoński, B. (1986). Nektarowanie i wydajność miodowa ważniejszych roślin miododajnych w warunkach Polski. Cz. V. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe, 30, 195-205.

Jabłoński, B. (2002). Notes on the method to investigate nectar secretion rate in flowers. Journal of Apicultural Science 46(2), 117-125.

Jabłoński, B., & Kołtowski, Z. (1999). Nektarowanie i wydajność miodowa roślin miododajnych w warunkach Polski. Część X. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe, 43, 247-254.

Jakobsen, H., & Kristjánsson, K. (1994). Influence of temperature and floret age on nectar secretion in Trifolium repens L. Annals of Botany, 74, 327-334. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/anbo.1994.1125

Jarić, S.V., Durdević, L.A., Mačukanović-Jocić, M.P., & Gajić, G.M. (2010). Morphometric characteristics and nectar potential of Ocimum basilicum L. var. Genovese Lamiaceae in relation to microclimatic and edaphic environmental factors. Periodicum Biologorum, 1123, 283-291.

Kakasy, A. Z., Lemberkovics, É., Kursinszki, L., Janicsak, G., Szőke, É. (2002). Data to phytochemical evaluation of moldavian dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavica L. Lamiaceae). Herba Polonica, 48(3), 112-119.

Kohlmünzer, S. (2016). Farmakognozja. Podręcznik dla studentów farmacji. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Lekarskie, Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictw Lekarskich.

Kubiak, M. (1959). Pszczelnik mołdawski (Dracocephalum moldavicum L.) jako roślina cytralowa. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica, 16(2), 142-151.

Kugler, H. (1970). Blütenökologie. Jena: Gustav Fisher Verlag.

Lipiński, M. (2010). Pożytki pszczele, zapylanie i miododajność roślin. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Rolnicze i Leśne.

Mačukanović-Jocić, M., & Durdević L. (2005). Influence of microclimatic conditions on nectar exudation in Glechoma hirsuta W.K. Archives of Biological Sciences, 572, 119-126.

Maurizio, A., & Grafl, I. (1969). Das Trachtpflanzenbuch. München: Ehrenwirth Verlag.

Naghibi, F., Mosaddeh, M., Mohamadi, M. S., & Ghorbani, A. (2005). Labiatae family in a folk medicine in Iran: from etnobotany to pharmacology. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2, 63-79.

Nepi, M., Cresti, L., Guarnieri, M., & Pacini, E. (2011). Dynamics of nectar production and nectar homeostasis in male flowers of Cucurbita pepo. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 172, 183-190. DOI: 10.1086/657648

Nepi, M., Saligo, C., Neocentini, D., Abate, M., Guarnieri, M., Cai, G., ... Pacini, E. (2012). Amino acids and protein profile in floral nectar: much more than a simple reward. Flora, 2017, 475-481. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2012.06.002

Nicolson, S. W. (2007). Nectar consumers. In Nectaries and nectar. Dordrecht: Springer.

Nicolson, S. W., & Thornburg, R. (2007). Nectar chemistry. In Nectaries and nectar. Dordrecht: Springer.

Nocentini, D., Pacini, E., Guarnieri, M., Martelli, D., Nepi, M. (2013). Intrapopulation heterogeneity in floral nectar attributes and foraging insects of an ecotonal Mediterranean species. Plant Ecology, 214, 799-809. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11258-013-0204-z

Nuru, A., Al-Ghamdi, A. A., Tena, Y. T., Shenkut, A. G., Ansari, M. J., Al-Maktary, A. (2015). Floral phenology, nectar secretion dynamics, and honey production potential, of two lavender species (Lavandula dentata, and L. pubescens) in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Journal of Apicultural Science, 59(2), 135-144. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jas-2015-0028

Pacini, E., Nepi, M., & Vesprini, J. L. (2003). Nectar biodiversity: a short review. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 238, 7-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00606-002-0277-y

Petanidou, T. (2007). Ecological and evolutionary aspects of floral nectars in Mediterranean habitats. In Nectaries and nectar. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Petanidou, T., & Smets, E. (1995). The potential of marginal lands for bees and apiculture: nectar secretion in Mediterranean shrublands. Apidologie, 26, 39-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido:19950106

Petanidou, T., & Smets, E. (1996). Does temperature stress induce nectar secretion in Mediterranean plants? New Phytologist, 133, 513-518. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.1996.tb01919.x

Petanidou, T., Goethals, V., & Smets E. (1999). The effect of nutritient and water availabity in the nectar production and nectary structure of the dominant Labiatae species of phrygana. Systematics and Geography of Plants, 68, 233-244. DOI: 10.2307/3668604

Petanidou, T., Goethals, V., & Smets, E. (2000). Nectary structure of Labiatae in relation to their nectar secretion and characteristics in a Mediterranean shrub community – does flowering time matter? Plant Systematics and Evolution, 225, 103-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00985461

Podbielkowski, Z., & Sudnik-Wójcikowska, B. (2003). Słownik roślin użytkowych. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Rolnicze i Leśne.

Pritsch, G. (2007). Bienenweide. Stuttgart: Franckh – Kosmos Verlags GmbH and Co. KG.

Proctor, M., Yeo, P., & Lack, A. (1996). The Natural History of Pollination. London, Glasgow, Sydney: Harper Collins Publishers.

Roubik, D. W., & Buchmann, S. L. (1984). Nectar selection by Melipona and Apis (Hymenoptera; Apidea) and the ecology of nectar intake by bee colonies in a tropical forest. Oecologia, 61, 1-10. DOI: 10.1007/BF00379082.

Rutkowski, L. (2006). Klucz do oznaczania roślin naczyniowych Polski niżowej. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Schultze, W., Zanglein, A., Hose, S., Kubeczka, K. H., Czygan, F. C. (1992). Volatiles in flowers of balm (Melissa officinalis L.). In Advances in Labiatae science. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens.

Sulborska, A., Dmitruk, M., Konarska, A., & Weryszko-Chmielewska, E. (2014). Adaptations of Lamium album L. flowers to pollination by Apoidea. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum, Seria Hortorum Cultus, 13(6), 31-43.

Szklanowska, K. (1965). Wpływ terminów siewu na biologię kwitnienia i nektarowanie pszczelnika mołdawskiego (Dracocephalum moldavicum L.). Annales UMCS sec. E, 20(5), 55-78.

Szweykowska, A., & Szweykowski, J. (red.). (2003). Słownik botaniczny. Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna.

Waser, N. M. (1998). Pollination, angiosperm speciation and the nature of species boundaries. Oikos, 81, 198-201. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3546930

Weryszko-Chmielewska, E., & Dmitruk, M. (2010) Morphological differentiation and distribution of non-glandular and glandular trichomes on Dracocephalum moldavicum L. shoots. Acta Agrobotanica, 63(1), 11-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.5586/aa.2010.002

Wolski, T., Kwiatkowski, S., & Gliński, Z. (2004). Pszczelnik mołdawski (Dracocephalum moldavica L.) – roślina miododajna i lecznicza. Annales UMCS sec. DD, 59(7), 57-66.

Wolski, T., & Kwiatkowski, S. (2005). Pszczelnik mołdawski (Dracocephalum moldavica L.). Zawartość i skład olejku eterycznego w częściach nadziemnych. Aromaterapia, 3(41), 19-27.

Yarmoohammadi, M., Talebi, S. M., & Nohooji, M. G. (2017). Infraspecific variations in essential oil and glandular trichomes in Nepeta heliotropifolia. Bio-diversitas, 18(3), 964-970. DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d180314

Zhang, X., Sawhney, V. K., & Davis, A. R. (2014). Annular floral nectary with oil-producing trichomes in Salvia farinacea (Lamiaceae): Anatomy, histochemistry, ultrastructure, and significance. American Journal of Botany, 101(11), 1849-1867. http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.1400368

Journal of Apicultural Science

The Journal of Research Institute of Horticulture and Apicultural Research Association

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.75
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.007

CiteScore 2017: 0.92

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.345
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.461


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 177 177 23
PDF Downloads 136 136 20