, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 705–720 | Cite as

Discriminating unifloral honey from a dioecious mass flowering tree of Brazilian seasonally dry tropical forest through pollen spectra: consequences of honeybee preference for staminate flowers

  • Paula Calaça
  • Clemens SchlindweinEmail author
  • Esther Margarida Alves Ferreira Bastos
Original article


Myracrodruon urundeuva (“aroeira”) is a dioecious tree of the seasonally dry tropical forest (SDTF) of Brazil and source of a unique unifloral honey. To discriminate this honey by its pollen spectra, we compared melissopalynological analysis of reference honey samples with those of other samples collected in the SDTF belt. Reference honeys had on average 99% of aroeira pollen, while the other honey samples averaged 84% of this pollen. We used the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, applied here for the first time in honey analysis, for determining the cut-off value of at least 93% of Myracrodruon pollen in a sample for classifying unifloral aroeira honey. The over-representation of aroeira pollen in this honey reflects that honeybees visited ten times as many staminate flowers as pistillate flowers. We conclude that unifloral aroeira honey has uniform pollen spectra, as a byproduct of the preference of honeybees for staminate flowers.


Myracrodruon urundeuva receivers operating characteristic (ROC) curve melissopalynology Apis mellifera 



We especially acknowledge Sr. José de Calazans, who provided the incentive to study unifloral aroeira honey. He helped in providing reference honey samples from experimental bee hives and with logistics of field work. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which improved the manuscript. We thank Companhia de Desenvolvimento dos Vales do São Francisco e do Parnaíba (CODEVASF) for financial support, and numerous associated beekeepers for their aid in obtaining the honey sample, and the Banco do Nordeste do Brasil S/A and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) for financial support. We also thank Milton Silveira for support in field work and discussion, Cláudia Simeão, Rânia Santana, Lívia Gardoni, and Guilherme Rodrigues, who helped to mount and analyze pollen slides; André Calaça da Costa, who assisted with the statistical analysis; and Cláudia Simeão, Cynthia Luz, and Maria Beatriz for their comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. PC received a scholarship from FAPEMIG and CS from CNPq.

Author contributions

EMAFB conceived the research. PC performed the analysis. CS and EMAFB contributed to the experimental design. EMAFB contributed to the pollen identification. PC, CS, and EMAFB interpreted results. PC and CS wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding information

This research had financial support from Banco do Nordeste do Brasil, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais, and Companhia de Desenvolvimento dos Vales do São Francisco e do Parnaíba.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Diretoria de Pesquisa e DesenvolvimentoFundação Ezequiel DiasBelo HorizonteBrazil

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