The “Beeplants of South Africa” book launched

14 December 2016

The launch of this important new SANBI book in the Strelitzia series took place at the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on 13 December 2016.

beeplants cover


The launch was attended by a several beekeepers, people who had contributed to the book by providing photographers or reviewing chapters, and colleagues from partner institutions.  . Professor John Donaldson, SANBI’s Chief Director for the Biodiversity Research, Assessment and Monitoring Division, made the opening remarks about the book, noting that it is an important output of SANBI’s Global Pollination Project and Honey Bee Forage Project. Read more about these projects on their webpage.





Mr Mike Allsopp, from the Agricultural Research Council, who has been a close friend and colleague of book author Mr Martin F. Johannsmeier for many years, spoke on Mr Johannsmeier’s behalf. “Mr Johannsmeier has expressed extreme gratitude to the many people involved in making this book a reality”, said Mr Allsopp, “he refers to the book as a team effort”. 

Beeplants of South Africa book launched

“Beeplants of South Africa” is a review of plants utilised by honey bees in the region. Data in the book shows a “bee plant value” for each plant species that gives an indication of how valuable the species are as honey bee forage. The book also contains additional information such as the flowering times of species, its common name, its morphology, its distribution and origin. Colour photographs of the main honey plants, as well as some representatives of important beeplant groups, are provided as a first step in plant identification.

Author Mr Johannsmeier is a retired entomologist of the Plant Protection Research Institute of the Agricultural Research Council. His career began in the field of chemical insect control, but he was later transferred to the ‘Government Apiary’ in Pretoria, where beekeeping advice was the main line of work. The emphasis later shifted to beekeeping research, and Martin tested new hive materials, determined factors that affected honey flows, investigated honey bee pollination of different crops, and surveyed nectar and pollen flora, amongst other research. The study of beeplants became his main interest, and he developed a simple method to establish the nectar and pollen value of a plant, using honey bee foragers. He continued with bee and flower ‘watching’ as one of his hobbies after retirement.

Carol Poole, a Project Manager at SANBI who assisted in coordinating the book development, notes: “This book will assist beekeepers, farmers, landscapers, gardeners and restoration experts with more information about plants they can consider conserving or growing. We also hope that this book is valuable to many other audiences into the future as we learn to protect and grow our honey bee forage resources sustainably”.

How to purchase the book:

The book (ISBN 978-1-928224-17-4) is available in hardcover A4. Price: R450.00. It can be purchased from the SANBI Bookshop by contacting Thomas Mapheza at or or Tel: 012 843 5000. 

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