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  • Author or Editor: Ntombekhaya Matafeni x
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Bahlebi K. Eiasu, Ntombekhaya Matafeni, Viwe Dyafta and Kenias Chigwaya

Rose-scented geranium oil is extracted from the shoots (mostly the leaves) of the Pelargonium spp. through steam- or hydro-distillation. To extract less than 0.2% oil, farmers must transport and distil bulky herbage. This makes geranium oil production costly, and high time- and energy-consuming process. To investigate the effect of different paclobutrazol (PBZ) concentrations (0, 100, 200, 300 mg/L of water) on vegetative growth, and oil yield and composition of rose-scented geranium, three pot experiments were conducted. The experiments were conducted in a glasshouse of the University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa (located at 25°45′S and 28°16′E, an altitude of 520 m above sea level), between Oct. 2011 and May 2013. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) in four replications. The PBZ was sprayed on the plants at 1 month of regrowth stage. Chlorophyll content increased with concentration of PBZ. The reduction of plant height in all PBZ-treated plants was significant, ranged between 18% and 33%. Plant canopy also reduced by 5% to 23%, and the differences were more noticeable in the plants grown between January and May (summer/autumn season), producing compact plants. Leaf area and internode length reduced as PBZ concentration increased. Paclobutrazol had no significant effect on leaf number, and essential oil yield and composition. This implies that, through applying PBZ, compacted (less bulky) rose-scented geranium could be produced without significant change in essential oil yield per plant and essential oil composition.