Artemisia annua L. is an aromatic and medicinal plant of importance for its volatile essential oils, and the non-volatile artemisinin used in the treatment of malaria. To determine the optimum time of planting for growth and the accumulation of essential oils, seedlings of A. annua (Purdue accession 012) were transplanted into the field in Central Indiana in a RBD with 3 replications on April 25, May 24, June 24, and July 25, 1988. Plant samples were harvested every 2 weeks until first frost.
The April and May transplanting dates produced the tallest plants (>180 cm) while the May transplants accumulated the greatest fresh and dry weights. The average increase in plant height was greatest for the June 24 planting date at 9.8 cm per week. Regardless of planting date, all plants began to flower by early August and growth rate began to decrease by late August. Accumulation of essential oil (as rel. % dry wt.) was similar for all planting dates. Essential oil increased until floral initiation, then decreased for 2 weeks after which there was a rapid increase in oil accumulation. Maximum oil accumulation from all planting dates was reached on Sept. 28 after which growth continued to increase.
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