Monofloral honey is a type of honey which has a distinctive flavor or other attribute due to its being predominantly from the nectar of one plant species. It is stored and labeled separately so as to command a premium price. While there may never be an absolute monofloral type, some honeys are relatively pure due to the prodigious nectar production of a particular species, such as citrus (Orange blossom honey), or there may be little else in bloom at the time.
Beekeepers learn the predominant nectar sources of their region, and often plan harvests to keep especially fine ones separate. For example, in the southern Appalachians, sourwood honey, from a small tree that blooms late in the season, is highly regarded. Beekeepers try to remove the previously produced dark and strong flavored tulip poplar honey, just before the sourwood bloom, so it doesn't mix with the lighter sourwood. During sourwood bloom, there is little else for the bees to forage.
Some types of monofloral honey
|Common name||Origin [note 1]||Characteristics & Availability||Color|
|(False) Acacia||Eastern North America (native), Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine and Romania (main producers), Canada, China, France, Serbia and Italy||Acacia, a light and clear honey made from the blossoms of Robinia pseudoacacia (aka Black Locust/American Acacia) has a mild delicate floral taste and is one of the most popular and sweetest honey varieties. It lasts as a liquid due to being high in fructose. It has a fairly low acid content, and is excellent for sweetening without altering the taste or the aroma of beverages. Its sweetness also perfectly balances the salty tang of cheese.||Ranges from light yellow to almost colorless.|
|Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)||North America||Alfalfa honey, produced extensively from the purple or blue blossoms (the most important honey plant in most of the western states) throughout the summer, is white or extra light amber in color with a fine flavor - a subtle spicy profile and mildly scented floral aroma. Not as sweet as most honey types, its delicate nature doesn't overpower other flavors, making it a favourite choice for chefs for their baked foods and a fine table honey for tea lovers.||White|
|Apple blossom||United Kingdom|
|Aster||United States||A distinctively sweet smelling, full bodied floral varietal, Aster honey is abundant in the Mid-South United States. It is light in color and prone to crystallize quickly. Relatively thick and smooth in consistency, this aromatic honey is a favorite choice for eating straight from the jar.||Light yellow|
|Avocado||Western United States||Collected from the California avocado blossoms, avocado honey is dark in color and is dissimilar in taste to the avocado fruit, yet shares with it a fairly rich and buttery flavour. This honey originated in Southern Mexico and is now a common crop in Central America, Australia and other tropical regions.||Dark amber|
|Basswood/Lime (linden) blossom (Tilia)||Ukraine, Russia, China, Hungary, Poland and the United Kingdom.||Produced from the cream-colored Basswood blossoms found throughout North America, Basswood honey is one of the few exceptional honey varieties that has a water-white to light color and yet strong distinctive biting, mildly spicy flavour and a distinctive lingering aftertaste. It's somewhat fresh, pleasant "woody" scent is very good with teas like Earl Grey and works well in many recipes, e.g. for salad dressings and marinades.||Water-white or pale, depending on the time of collection|
|Blueberry||Northeastern US||Produced in New England and in Michigan, Blueberry honey is taken from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush. It has a pleasant full, well-rounded flavor, a slight tang, and a blueberry aftertaste. It has wonderful applications in sauces and baked goods.||Light amber or amber|
|Blue gum||Australia and Tasmania||Blue Gum, a Eucalyptus honey species, grows in South Australia and Tasmania. It honey is amber in colour and dense in texture. Delicious on toast and wafers, this varietal is popularly used as a breakfast or ice-cream drizzle. Blue Gum honey is a must-try for those who love the Eucalyptus range of honey. Its subtle cool, minty undertone reminds me of the blue bubble gum that kids love to chew.||Amber|
|Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)||Canada, China, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, United States||Buckwheat was an important crop in the US from about 1930 to the 1960s, which has since faded from use, and buckwheat honey has become scarce in the US. A wild buckwheat Polygonum cuspidatum from a close kin that has become established in the US is naturally more mild than the familiar buckwheat, and sometimes is used to blend with buckwheat, or sold separately as a monofloral called "bamboo." A recent study has shown buckwheat honey to be more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup at treating childhood cough. It has a strong, distinctive taste and it is often compared to molasses in both color and viscosity.||Very dark amber|
|Carrot||United States||Carrot honey has a dark amber color with an aroma reminiscent of chocolate. The taste is strong with a bite to it — a sharp spike in an otherwise earthy, caramel flavor. There is also a “grassy” aftertaste, something close to meadow honey. This honey's taste is different from other honeys. It shines through when used in recipes. Carrot honey is obtained when carrot plants run to seed, this happens usually on specialist seed-breeding farms, or when bees collect nectar from wild carrots|
|Cherry blossom||United Kingdom|
|Chestnut||Italy||A dark honey with one of the highest mineral contents of all honeys.||Yellowish-brown|
|Chinese tallow tree||Southeastern United States||Tallow trees produce a very heavy honey flow of high-quality honey in May and June in the Southeastern states into Texas and beekeepers often move their hives into tallow tree areas in order to harvest the bountiful nectar. Honey is dark with a tangy taste that is prized.||Dark amber|
|Clover||Canada, United States, Sweden and New Zealand.||Clover honey is one of the most widely available and popular honey varieties. It is widely used “on the table.” Despite being the most common nectar producing honey plant, Clover honey is still a variety. White clover, alsike clover, and the white and yellow sweet clover plants are the most important for honey production. Depending on location and source, Clover honey varies in color from water-white to extra light amber and has a mild, delicate flavor. Depending on the location and source, clover honey varies in color from water white to different tones of amber. White clover in particular is grown as a widespread blooming pasture crop and is a major nectar source in many parts of the world. A favourite varietal of many honey lovers this classic honey has a pleasingly mild, floral sweetness that is easily accepted. And the most distinctive characteristic of this honey for me is its lingering hint of sour waxy aftertaste. A perfect ingredient for light sauces, salad dressings and baking!
Genuine monofloral clover is uncommon, as most light, mild-flavored honeys are mixed and called clover for the retail trade.
|White to tones of amber|
|Dandelion||New Zealand, China||Harvested from New Zealand's South Island, Dandelion honey is a relatively strong honey blended with mild tangy notes. This dark amber honey delivers a distinct floral aroma of dandelions which are traditionally prized as a medicinal herb in China (including Tibet) and India for its broad spectrum of powerful healing properties. Great tasting by itself, it is best eaten straight from the spoon.||Dark amber|
|Eucalyptus||Common in Australia, in Western Cape in South Africa, and in Brazil.||Monofloral eucalypt honeys include Jarrah, Yellow Box, Grey box, Blue Gum, River Red Gum, Ironbark, Stringybark and Messmate. Eucalyptus honey varies greatly in color and flavor, but in general, it tends to be a bold-flavored honey with a slightly medicinal aftertaste. It may be used in baked goods, sauces, dressings. (Tasmanian Leatherwood honey is considered a delicacy, but is not a eucalypt honey)||Light amber to medium-dark red|
|Fireweed||Northwestern US, Western Canada||Fireweed honey is produced in great quantities in some areas of western Canada and northwestern US and is considered a premium monofloral.||Amber|
|Fynbos||Western Cape in South Africa||Fynbos honey is produced in great quantities in some areas of Western Cape in South Africa. It comes from several species of "fynbos" found in the Cape Floral Kingdom. It is considered a premium honey with a strong spicy taste.||Amber|
|Gallberry||Southeastern United States||Has a rich but not overpowering flavor and is produced almost exclusively in the coastal Southeast.||Very dark amber|
|Goldenrod (genus Solidago)||With acid soil, adequate moisture and good foraging weather during the autumn bloom, bees can make large quantities of honey from it. Much of it is sold for bakery use, but in some areas it has become a favored monofloral honey. Has a curious, distinctive and powerful smell, that has been described by some 'like caramel and milk is mixed into the honey', a spicy smell. Others suggest a faint licorice aroma. There is a peculiar discrepancy between the smell and its taste, and between varieties. The taste has been variously described as: 'a bit of a bite', 'a butterscotch-like flavor', 'similar to dandelion honey'.||Amber|
|Common Heather, Ling||Mainly from moorland in the United Kingdom|
|Jarrah||Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) is a native tree unique to Western Australia (WA).|
|Jujube, or Yemen Sidr||Yemen, Pakistan||Traditional honey with reputed health benefits. Found in the desert areas of Yemen, Pakistan's potohar region Sidr trees are also known as Jujube, or Ziziphus zizyphus.||Yellowish-brown|
|Kamahi||New Zealand||The creamy colored flowers of this common tree are very attractive to bees.||Light amber|
|Lavender||Produced mainly in France and Spain||Woody, floral||Light yellow|
|Leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida)||Tasmania||A richly aromatic and distinctly floral honey, with spicy, caramel and vanilla undertones, and a lingering floral aftertaste.||Dark amber|
|Lehua||Hawaii||Lehua Honey is made from the lehua (blossoms) of the ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), and is probably the rarest Hawaiian Honey. It is liquid when harvested from the hives but turns into a creamy, sturdy honey after a couple of weeks.|
|Leptospermum||Australia, New Zealand||Made from any of dozens of shrub-like evergreen tree species|
|Manuka||New Zealand and Australia||Manuka honey is from bees who feed on the flowers of the Manuka bush, also known as the "Tea Tree" to produce a honey that has anti-bacterial properties. Tea tree oil is commonly from the related Melaleuca tree native to Australia and is used as a topical antibiotic and antifungal for wounds that fail to close.|
|Mesquite||Southwestern U.S.||The mesquite tree is prized for its sweet-smoky smelling wood, primarily used in barbecues and meat smokers. The honey produced from its flowers also has this distinctive smoky aroma.||Dark brown and viscous. Remains semi-crystalline even in hot weather.|
|Nodding thistle, or Musk thistle (Carduus nutans)||Worldwide||Considered a noxious weed in many areas of the world, but produces a good honey.||Light amber|
|Orange blossom||France, Mexico, Brazil and Spain; United States (Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida)||Is actually made from mixed citrus nectars. It is a thick, very sweet honey. Strong aroma.||Light amber to white, the lighter color and milder flavor coming in years when there is a large harvest and the honey is little contaminated by other nectars.|
|Tulip tree, or Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)||Southern Appalachia, US||Tulip tree is actually not a poplar, but the honey called "poplar" is a favorite regional monofloral honey.||Dark amber or black, when held to the light may appear reddish.|
|Rape||Central and Eastern Europe||A floral – fresh fruit (fruity) aroma, warm, medium intensity.
Low acidity and medium sweetness, short persistence, aftertaste sometimes present (blackcurrant). When crystallised in very small crystals, refreshing (like “fondant”)
|Light yellow, whitish or dull ivory when crystallized.|
|Raspberry||United States||Available in some areas where raspberries are grown commercially.|
|Rata (Southern rātā, Metrosideros umbellata)||New Zealand||One of several species of Metrosideros but is the one that most regularly produces a honey crop, though sometimes it is in short supply.||Very white when pure|
|Rewarewa||New Zealand||The honey flavor is malty. Rewarewa, Knightia excelsa, was called New Zealand Honeysuckle tree.||Reddish amber|
|Rosemary||France, Italy and Spain|
|Saguaro||Southwest US and Northwest Mexico||Tends to crystallize and be somewhat chunky. Not good for use in tea.||Ranges from light yellow to dark yellow/brown.|
|Sage (Salvia)||Sage honey almost never crystallizes.|
|Sourwood||Southeastern United States, especially Appalachia||Thin and complex, tasting almost like clover honey initially, with a characteristic faint sour aftertaste.||Straw colored.|
|Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis)||US, especially California||Thick and simple tasting honey. It has no aftertaste and is considered a milder version of clover honey in taste.||Light golden yellow|
|Sunflower||France and Spain||Because sunflower honey crystallizes quickly, becoming soft and easy to spread, it is often consumed in its crystallized state.||Pale yellow|
|Tawari||New Zealand||"The nectar is copious and very watery producing a prolific honey crop... often with a high final moisture content... [and high] fructose." Ixerba brexioides.||Light|
|Wild thyme||New Zealand, Greece||Thyme honey is the most popular honey produced in Greece. Thyme continues to flourish today in New Zealand's Central Otago.||Dark amber|
|Tupelo||Southeastern United States||Made from trees of the genus Nyssa which are native to wetlands of southeastern USA. In many areas the forests have been cut over, greatly reducing the supply of the honey. It is favored for some uses because it is very slow to granulate. Northern Florida is a major producer. Honey that is certified by laboratory analysis as purely tupelo brings a premium price.|
|Ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia)||Chile||Taste and aroma of aniseed, jasmine, vanilla and cloves, with a touch of tea and caramel. Compared to Manuka Honey as a medicinal.||Amber|
|Viper's Bugloss||New Zealand||This wild flower covers the hills of central South Island during summer months. The seed was once used as a treatment for snakebite, which gives the plant its name.|
- The range of the origin plant is wider than stated, usually worldwide. There may also be local concentrations in any part of the world, meaning the monofloral honey can be produced outside the stated countries of origin
- "Monofloral honey types", Bee-info.com. (in German)
- "Main European unifloral honeys: descriptive sheets", Apidologie 35 (2004) S38–S81 (PDF).
- "Honey Varietals", National Honey Board (US)
- "Honey: A Better Option For Childhood Cough Than Over The Counter Medications", Science Daily.
- Conti, M.E.Lazio region (central Italy) honeys: a survey of mineral content and typical quality parameters (2000) Food Control, 11 (6), pp. 459-463.
- González-Miret, Maria Lourdes et all Multivariate Correlation between Color and Mineral Composition of Honeys and by Their Botanical Origin J. Agric. Food Chem., 2005, 53 (7), pp 2574–2580 doi:10.1021/jf048207p Publication Date (Web): February 26, 2005
- "WA Country Hour - 23/03/2004: Jarrah honey has healing powers". Abc.net.au. 2004-03-23. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Corleone, Jill. "Difference in Nutritional Value of Fireweed Honey and Wildflower Honey". livestrong.org. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Giovanni Canova (2001). "Traditional Beekeeping in Eastern Yemen". Yemen Update. 43. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- "Yemeni Sidr Honey Is Beneficial for Sinus Problems". Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- See the section spelled "Lavander" in "Main European unifloral honeys: descriptive sheets", Apidologie 35 (2004) S38–S81 (PDF).
- Khan FR, Ul Abadin Z, Rauf N (2007). "Honey: nutritional and medicinal value". Int J Clin Pract. 61 (10): 1705–7. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01417.x. PMID 17877657.
- "Derma Sciences Medihoney Primary Dressings with Active Manuka Honey" (PDF).
- "Nodding Thistle". Airborne.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Rewarewa". Airborne.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Mono Floral Honeys". Honeyland.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Tawari". Airborne.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10.