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Effects of cultivation practices on biomass partitioning of Boerhavia diffusa L.

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Although traditional knowledge on the medicinal properties of Boerhavia diffusa L. of the family Nyctaginaceae is known, production potential, assimilate partitioning to economic yields and agronomic requirements for commercial cultivation are poorly understood. Consequently, the objective of this study was to identify agronomic practices that could partition more assimilate to economic components to obtain optimum yield from cultivation. A factorial experiment was carried out at the University of Peradeniya Experimental Station, Dodangolla, Sri Lanka from July 2006 to August 2008. Treatments include two types of planting materials, five types of fertilizers and five harvesting methods. The results revealed that the seedlings performed better than cuttings in all studied parameters. Among types of fertilizers, the recommendation for Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. (Sweet potato) was the best for production of below ground dry matter in seedling plants. The optimum rate of below ground dry matter was attained at 8 months after planting (MAP) in seedlings. Organic or inorganic fertilizer recommendation for Trianthema portulacastrum L. (Sarana) was the most suitable for harvesting of above ground dry matter of seedling plants. The study also showed that B. diffusa could be managed by repeated harvesting of above ground dry matter as a leafy vegetable at two month intervals up to six months followed by harvesting the entire plant at eight MAP for medicinal as well as a leafy vegetable. Implications of research findings are discussed.

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