Propagule Type and Planting Time Affect Subsequent Mayapple Growth

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  • 1 North Mississippi Resaerch and Extension Center, 5421 Highway 145 South, Verona, MS 38879

Leaves of american mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum L.) contain podophyllotoxin, a compound of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. Cultural practices for establishment of mayapple in field plantings for commercial harvest have not been investigated. A factorial arrangement of three planting dates (Fall 2000, Spring 2001, or Summer 2001) and three propagule types (Nt+N1, Nt, or Nx; as described by Maqbool et al., 2004) were used to investigate strategies for establishing mayapple plantings. Rhizome segments were harvested from the wild and transplanted into plant beds in full sun in northern Mississippi. Plant emergence was recorded during March and April of each year from 2001 to 2004. Leaves within each plot were harvested as soon as they began to yellow, from the third week of April to the first week of June each year. Propagule type and planting time interacted to affect subsequent plant growth when measured on an area basis (per square meter of growing area). In 2004, spring-planted Nt+N1 produced more shoots with greater total leaf area and dry mass than spring-planted Nx or Nt. In contrast, Nt+N1 transplanted during fall or summer was equal in performance to that of Nx or Nt. Performance of summer-planted Nt was poor, producing far less leaf area and dry mass than any of the other treatment combinations. On a per plant basis, fall-planted propagules produced greater leaf area and dry mass in 2004 than spring- or summer-planted propagules, and Nt+N1 produced greater leaf area than Nx or Nt. The effect of year was not analyzed in this study due to complications of the experimental design. In conclusion, overall plant growth and performance of spring-planted Nt+N1 can be recommended as excellent and that of fall-planted Nt as poor. All other treatment combinations can be recommended as good. These results will assist growers of specialty crops in establishing mayapple plantings under field conditions in full sun.

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