Propagation by Stem Cuttings and Response of Seeds to Light and Temperature of Fever Tea (Lippiajavanica)

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  • 1 University of Pretoria, Dept. of Plant Production and Soil Science, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

Fever tea (Lippiajavanica) is one of the important medicinal plants belonging to the Verbenaceae family. The first objective of this investigation was to study the propagation of fever tea using stem cuttings. The main variables studied were cutting position, rooting media and rooting hormone. The germination requirement of fever tea seed is also not known. Therefore, the second objective was to investigate the ideal seed germination temperature and light combinations. Germination was tested at constant temperature regimes (15, 20, 25 and 30 °C) with a continuous light or dark period and at alternate temperatures of 20/30 °C and 16/8 hour (light/dark) combinations, respectively. For the stem cutting investigation, sampling was done every 5, 10, 15, and 20 days from plant establishment. Apical cuttings took less time to root than basal cuttings regardless of growing medium. Response of cuttings to rooting hormone was growing medium-related. With rooting hormone, it took 10 days to root most of the apical cuttings, whereas basal cuttings showed more roots in 15 to 20 days after plant establishment. Cuttings in sand took 5 days longer to root than in pine bark, regardless of rooting hormone. Therefore, for quicker establishment of fever tea stem cuttings, rooting hormone and pine bark should be used for propagation of both apical and basal cuttings. In the germination investigation, it was found that fever tea seeds are positively photoblastic. Regardless of temperature, seeds failed to germinate in continuous darkness. The germination percentage was improved at continuous or alternating temperatures above 20 °C with continuous light. However, the germination percentage decreased with alternating light and dark treatments.

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