Table Of ContentsNext Page

Effects of planting time and plant density on flower yield and active substance of Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.)

Mohammad Hadj Seyed Hadi1, Ghorban Noormohammadi2, Jafar Masoud Sinaki3, Naser Khodabandeh4, Narges Yasa5 and Mohammad Taghi Darzi6

1Ph.D Student of Crop Ecology, College of Agriculture & Natural Resoures, Science & Research Unit, Islamic Azad. University,
Tehran, IRAN, Email: mrhshadi@yahoo.com
2
College of Agriculture & Natural Resoures, Science & Research Unit, Islamic Azad. Univ, Tehran, IRAN, ghnour@yahoo.com
3
Ph.D Student of Crop Physiology, College of Agriculture & Natural Resoures, Science & Research Unit, Islamic Azad. Univ,
Tehran, IRAN, Email: m_sinaki2003@yahoo.com
4
College of Agriculture, Dept. of Agronomy, Tehran University, IRAN.
5
College of Medicine, Dept. of Pharmacognosy, Tehran University, IRAN.
6
College of Agriculture, Dept. of Agronomy, Islamic Azad University, Roodhen Unit.

Abstract

Chamomile production recently has started in Iran. The Khojir region in the northwest of Tehran province is one of the main locations which chamomile grows successfully. Medicinal plants production is mainly dependant on ecological condition. In this respect, management of environmental parameters is very critical. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of planting time and plant density on flower yield and active substance of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.). This experiment was carried out at Khojir crop research station in the spring of 1999. The treatments were three planting times (5, 15 and 25 March) and three plant densities (50x20, 50x30, 50x40 cm). Results showed that the highest number of flower per plant (385 flower/plant), fresh flower per plant (30.287 g), dried flower per plant (5.564 g), fresh flower yield (2132.9 kg/ha), dried flower yield (389.8 kg/ha), essential oil yield (2.470 lit/ha), chamazulene percentage (6.4%) and chamazulene yield (152 ml/ha) were obtained from the first planting time,(5 March). Also, plant density showed significant effects on measured traits. The highest number of flower (386.8 flower/plant), fresh flower per plant 30.64 g), dried flower per plant(5.875 g) were obtained from the lowest plant density (50x40 cm). The highest fresh flower yield (2233.6 kg/ha), dried flower yield (412.4 kg/ha), essential oil yield (2.44 lit/ha), and chamazulene yield (150 ml/ha) were obtained from the highest plant density (50x20 cm). So according to the results of this investigation, the highest yield was obtained from the earliest sowing and the highest plant density.

Media summary

Planting on 5 March and using 50x20 cm density gave the optimum flower, essential oil and chamazulene yield in chamomile and, also, farmer's income will be higher.

Key Words

Chamomile, Medicinal Plant, Climate, Active substance.

Introduction

Chamomile is an annual plant belongs to Asteraceae (Compositae) family. The flowers have an active substance which is called essential oil and the most important its constituent is chamazulene that is used widely in pharmaceutical, food, perfumery and flavouring industry (Kacuric 1979; Galambosi and Holm 1991). The annual world consumption of chamomile flowers is more than 4000 ton (Franz et al. 1986). Medicinal plants production is mainly dependant on ecological condition. In this respect, management of environmental parameters is very critical. By using correct planting time and plant density, it will be possible to control radiation interception by plants. In Iran, there are more than 7500 plant species which most of them have valuable active substances. One of the most important of them is chamomile that grows wildly in various ecological zones of Iran. Recently its cultivation in Tehran, Lorestan, Khoozestan, Fars and Isfahan provinces has started and several drugs have produced from its essential oil. This is very important to reduce chemical drugs and increase individual health.

The question of the right planting time of chamomile in relation to its yield and essential oil content has been subject of discussion several times (Franz et al. 1985). Although it is stated that chamomile should be sown in autumn, but it is dependant on ecological condition and objective of production. For example, in spring sowing flavonoid and chamazulene content in flowers are higher than autumn sowing (Galambosi 1992; Letchamo and Vomel 1992), while flower yield is higher in autumn. There are no studies on spring cultivation of chamomile in these regions and chamomile is planted in autumn. One of the problems in these provinces is finding out the adaptability and correct cultivation practices. Chamomile is a long day plant and planting time has major effects on flowering and its quantitative and qualitative yield (Franz et al. 1986; Salamon 1992). Then, by choosing correct time of planting and plant density, growth and development will accordance with optimum temperature and solar radiation and subsequently yield will increase.

Present studies have shown that German chamomile may be successfully cultivated, possessing a great potential in Khojir region in Tehran province. Therefore, it became imperative to find out the optimum planting time and plant density of chamomile to exploit its yield potential for its recommendation to the farmers of this region.

Methods

Field Experiment

Field study was carried out in the spring of 1999 at the Khojir Crop Research Station, Agricultural Organization of Tehran (35 36 N, 51 48 E and 1300 m mean sea level). The soil of the experimental plots was loamy in texture, rich in nitrogen, available phosphorus and medium in potassium with slightly alkaline in reaction (pH 7.7). Treatments were three levels of planting time (5, 15 and 25 March) and three levels of plant density (50x20, 50x30, 50x40 cm). The experiment design was in randomized complete blocks with three replications (treatments were arranged in factorial combinations). Plots were 5x3 m with 6 rows and final harvest were taken from two central rows (2m2). There was one row space between plots and 3 meters between replications. Weed control was done by hand. Plots were irrigated at 7 days intervals. Harvesting of flowers started when 50% of the plants had flowered and continued at 2 weeks intervals by using a hand comb harvester. Data on phenological phase, plant height, flower diameter, number of flower per plant, fresh and dried flower yield, seed yield, essential oil and chamazulene percentage were recorded.

Laboratory analysis

Flowers were dried in an air ventilated oven at 35 C for 5 days. The extraction of the essential oil content per unit dry flower weight was based on steam distillation using Clevenger apparatus. The composition of the essential oil was determined using gas chromatography technique (GC) and Chamazulene content was determined by gas chromatography by mass spectrometry technique (GC/MS).

Statistical analysis

Data ware subjected to statistical analysis using ANOVA, a statistical package available from SAS. Means comparisons were done by Duncan multiple range test at 5% level.

Results

Planting Time

There were significant differences in all measured traits except that plant height, flower diameter and essential oil per plant. The plant height before the first harvest varied from 32 to 44 cm, the lowest was from the first planting time. Results show that the highest number of flower per plant (385 flower/plant), fresh flower per plant (30.287 g), dried flower per plant (5.564 g), fresh flower yield (2132.9 kg/ha), dried flower yield (389.8 kg/ha), essential oil yield (2.470 lit/ha), chamazulene percentage (6.4%) and chamazulene yield (152 ml/ha) are obtained from the first level of planting time (Table1). These results are supported by previous studies (Kacurik 1979; Betray and Vomel 1992; Galambosi 1992; Letchamo and Vomel 1992). Plant height and flower diameter are not affected by various levels of planting time. Results show that in early cultivation in March, due to longer growth period and less heat stresses, chamomile have optimum growth and development and it is resulted in higher yield.

Plant Density

Plant density showed significant effects on measured traits. The highest number of flower (386.8 flower/plant), fresh flower per plant (30.64 g), dried flower per plant (5.875 g) were obtained from the lowest plant density (50x40 cm). While, the highest fresh flower yield (2233.6 kg/ha), dried flower yield (412.4 kg/ha), essential oil yield (2.44 lit/ha), and chamazulene yield (150 ml/ha) were obtained from the highest plant density (50x20 cm). These results are accordance with previous studies (Zalecki 1972; Leto et al. 1997). Also, plant height, flower diameter, essential oil per unit dry flower weight and chamazulene percentage were not influenced by various levels of plant density. In the third level of plant density, each plant has more space to growth and it can use efficiently water, nutrients, solar radiation. Also, there is less competition between plants. Therefore, yield per plant is higher. Otherwise, in the first level of plant density, yield per hectare is mush more than less densities. In other words, applying 50x20 cm spaces will gave optimum flower, essential oil and chamazulene yield. Also, in this production system, weed can be controlled mechanically and herbicide application will decrease. Again, by row cropping, it is possible to use a machine harvester and reduce labour input.

Table1. Mean comparison for quantitative and qualitative characters in chamomile in various levels of planting time and plant density.

Treatment

No. of Flower/plant

Fresh Flower Yield (ton/ha)

Dried Flower Yield
(ton/ha)

Essential Oil
(ml/100gr dried flower)

Essential Oil Yield (lit/ha)

Chamazulene
Percentage

Chamazulene yield (ml/ha)

Planting Time

5 March

385a

2132.9a

389.8a

0.612a

2.470a

6.40a

152a

15 March

351.9ab

1814.8b

354.9b

0.580a

2.143ab

6.04ab

123b

25 March

320.3b

1699.6b

305.4b

0.574a

1.830b

5.83b

103b

Plant Density

50x20 cm

322.9b

2233.6a

412.4a

0.598a

2.444a

6.122a

150a

50x30 cm

347.6b

1871.5b

344b

0.594a

2.056b

6.011a

124ab

50x40 cm

386.8a

1539.4c

293.7b

0.583a

1.722b

6.144a

104b

Means having at least one similar letters are not significantly different at the 5% level of probability
(Duncan multiple Range test).

Figure 1. The main region for chamomile (Matricaria recutita) cultivation in Iran. As it is shown, chamomile mainly produced in north and west region.

Conclusion

As previous studies showed, by delay in cultivation quantitative and qualitative of chamomile flowers will decrease (Betray and Vomel 1992; Salamon 1994) because of higher temperature and shorter growth period. In higher plant density, yield per hectare increased significantly which it is accordance with previous findings (Zalecki 1972; Leto et al 1997; Betray and Vomel 1992). According to the results of this investigation, the optimum flower, essential oil and chamazulene yield were obtained from the earliest planting time (5 March) and highest plant density (50x20 cm). On a per plant basis, the highest essential oil content per unit dry flower weight and chamazulene percentage in flowers were obtained from the lowest plant density (50x40 cm).

The essential oil per unit dry flower weight and per plant is dependant on the flowering period, developmental stage and plant age. There was no relationship between flower yield and essential oil content per unit dry flower weight. The essential oil composition also is dependant on the stage of developmental plant age. The concentration of the essential oil as well as composition of the secondary products undergoes variation during ontogenesis. For this reason, it seems to be important to find the correct harvesting time in Khojir region, because quantitative and qualitative yield will different between each harvesting times.

Acknowledgements

Financial assistance for this work was provided by the Tehran Agricultural Organization, Ministry of Agriculture of IRAN.

References

Betray G and Vomel A (1992). Influence of temperature on yield and active principles of chamomile under controlled conditions. Acta Horticulturae. 306, 83-87.

Emonggor VE and Chweya JA (1989). Effect on age on chamomile flower yield, essential oil content and composition. Discovery and Innovation. 1(4), 63-66.

Franz CH., Muller E., Pelzman H., Hardl K., Halva S and Ceylan A (1986). Influence of ecological factors on yield and essential oil of chamomile. Acta Horticulturae. 188, 157-162.

Galambosi B and Holm Y (1991). The effect of spring sowing times and spacing on the yield and essential oil of chamomile grown in Finland. Herba Hungarica. 2, 47-53.

Kacurik S (1979). Variation of essential oil and chamazulene content in chamomile. Ponohospodarstvo. 25(1), 67-75.

Letchamo W (1992). Comparative study of chamomile yield, essential oil and flavonoids content under two sowing season and nitrogen levels. Acta Horticulturae. 306, 375-384.

Letchamo W (1996). Developmentan and seasonal variation in flavonoids of diploid and tetraploid chamomile ligulate florets. Plant Physiology. 148, 645-651.

Leto C., Carrubba A and Cibella R (1997). Results of a four year trial period of chamomile cultivation in a semi arid Sicilian environment. Horticultural Abstracts. 5325.

Salamon I (1992). The effect of different densities on the yield and stand structure of chamomile. Spornik-Uvits-Zahradnictvi. 19(2), 87-94.

Salamon, I (1994). Growing conditions and essential oil of chamomile. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants. 1(2), 37-45.

Zalecki R (1972). The cultivation and manuring of tetraploid chamomile. Part III: Row width and sowing density. Herba Polonica. 18(1), 70-78.

Top Of PageNext Page