This honey is produced only on Kangaroo Island by Ligurian bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) originally imported in the 1880s. An act of parliament in 1885 declared the island a sanctuary for Ligurian bee and the keeping of bees other than Ligurian bees was prohibited. The isolation of Kangaroo Island from mainland Australia has helped in maintaining a genetically pure population of honeybees that are descendants of the original Ligurian queens. Since the arrival of the Ligurian bee, no other race or strain of honeybee has been introduced onto the island, which now is home to the oldest bee sanctuary in the world. The KI bee population is believed to represent the last remaining pure stock of this Italian race found anywhere in the world. As such, they are considered an important genetic resource for queen breeders and for apicultural research. The quality of the honey also depends on the local flora, including various varieties of indigenous eucalypts, in particular the sugar gum (Eucalyptus cladacalyx), and also cup gum, cong mallee, messmate stringy-bark, peppermint box, blue gum, river red gum, pink gum, white mallee, SA coastal mallee and narrow-leaved mallee. Other melliferous flora include the scarlet bottlebrush, native fuschsia, melaleucas, pomaderris and broom bush. Kangaroo Island Ligurian bee honey varies according to the flora from which the bees collect nectar, but perhaps the most characteristic is the delicate, light but distinctively flavoured sugar gum honey. Eucalypt honeys are medium to dark amber in colour, of medium density and full depth of flavour. Wildflower honey, collected from flowering species of banksia, hakea, melaleucas and flowering annuals, is full-flavoured, medium to dark amber in colour and medium density. Spring flora honey, produced from various spring flowering species such as clover, lucerne, canola, capeweed and other pasture plants, is light in colour with good density and a distinctive, mild flavour.
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