860 PB 539 GROWTH RESPONSES OF CULANTRO (Eryngium foetidum L.) TO GIBBERELLIC ACID SPRAYS

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  • 1 University of the Virgin Islands, Agricultural Experiment Station, RR 02, P.O. Box 10000, Kingshill, St. Croix, USVI 00850

Culentro, an umbelliferous aromatic saponin-containing biennial herb native of Central America and the West Indies is a major ingredient of many West Indian and Latin American dishes. Although closely related to the Asian culinary herb - cilantro or coriander, culantro is mainly prized for its green serrate spatulate-shaped leaves the main source of its oil. Like many other umbelliferoids under high temperatures and long summer days of the tropics culantro produces large umbel inflorescences and seedheads which are labor-intensive to remove, retard leaf growth and hence decrease the market value of the plant. Preliminary studies using ProGibb sprays from 50 to 200 ppm to 3- to 4-month old culantro plants grown under 53% shade showed increased leaf growth and chlorophyll content response to increasing levels of ProGibb. Maximum leaf length, fresh leaf weight, chlorophyll content and decreased flower growth were obtained at 100 ppm spray application. Treated plants remained in a vegetative phase for almost two years when vegetative side shoots were established. Postharvest observations showed no apparent decrease in shelf life nor loss of characteristic leaf aroma in leaves harvested from GA-treated plants. Inflorescences from sprayed plants were highly reduced in size, had leaf-like appearance and produced characteristic culantro aroma Indicating that they may also be utilized in culanto cuisines.

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