(391) Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.) Propagation and Growth in Perlite Hydroponic Systems

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  • 1 1National Horticultural Research Institute, Div. Protected Cultivation, Imok-Dong 475, Gangan-Gu, Suwon, 440-706, Korea
  • | 2 2North Carolina State University, Horticultural Science, Raleigh, NC, 27695-7609

Rhizomes of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.) grown in the deep woodland shade of eastern North America have been used historically as medicinals, but wild populations have declined because of collection pressure. The purpose of this study is to determine the potential for black cohosh production in perlite. Currently, cultivated plants represent just 3% of the total harvest. Perlite production should also result in clean, uniform plant material. Rhizomes were grown at 18 °C in controlled environment chambers in the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Phytotron in perlite for 42 days with fertigation 3, 6, or 12 times daily and 18.5, 21.5, or 24.5 °C root zone temperatures adjusted using heating cables. Leaf areas of the 21.5 and 24.5 °C root temperature treatments were greater than the 18.5 °C treatment. Stem number and new root number was highest in the 21.5 °C treatment. No effects of the fertigation treatments were significant. The second experiment was conducted 7 June–31 Oct. 2004 in a naturally lit temperature-controlled (22/18 °C) glass greenhouse in the NCSU Phytotron at nutrient solution EC levels of 0.7, 1.1, or 1.5 dS·m-1 and shading levels of 0%, 50%, and 75%. Highest leaf area and increase in fresh weight of the rhizomes over the experimental period was in the 50% shading treatment, but no significant effects of EC treatments were observed. Rhizome fresh weight increased 310% in the 50% shade, compared to 193% and 196% in the 0% and 75% shading treatments, respectively. In conclusion, black cohosh appears to prefer some shading during summer and 21.5 °C root temperatures. Low EC (0.7 dS·m-1) and infrequent watering (3 times daily) did not appear to limit growth in this system, but these results should be confirmed in larger studies in commercial greenhouses.

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