Monday, September 26, 2011

Medicinal Plants- Amruthu/Tinospora

Common name: Gulancha tinospora, Tinospora
Scientific name: Tinospora cordifolia (WILLD.) HOOK.F. & THOMS.
 Parts used: stem
Commercial importance: amruthu acts as a diuretic and found to be effective against Renal obstruction like calculi and other urinary disorders. It acts as a memory booster, develops inteligence, promotes mental clarity. It is described as one of the Medhya Rasayana (mental rejuvenative) in the Charak Samhita (The oldest and most potent book of Ayurvedic Medicine). It is regarded as a liver protector. It is considered helpful in eye disorders as a tissue builder and promotes mental clarity. The stem is used in general debility, dyspepsia and urinary diseases. It is anti-pyretic and act as a tonic after fever, also has action against alternative fever like Malaria. Tinospora or Guduchi acts as a diuretic and found to be effective against Renal obstruction like calculi and other urinary disorders

How to cultivate

Medium black soil or red soil is the best for the cultivation of Tinospora Cordifolia. A well drained, rich in organic matter soil is very good for the growth of this plant. The plant is very hardy and it can be grown in almost all climates but prefers warm climate.
Tinospora can be propagated by seeds and also vegetative cuttings. The best way is vegetative way. The cuttings of the small finger thickness with 6 to 8 inch length long stem having two nodes are used. The cuttings are dipped by quick dip method in 2500 ppm of IBA and get greater success of rooting. This may be planted in poly bags of 4 inch ×6 inch size. The poly bags filled with mud, sand and dry cow dung in the ratio 1:1:1. The rooting of the cuttings takes almost 4 to 5 weeks. The cuttings of Tinospora Cordifolia will be ready for planting into the main field by this time.
Tinospora is a climber and hence needs some source of support to get higher yields. Proper training structures like the wires are required. The first harvest can be made by plucking the leaves without damaging the vines. These leaves are then spread on clean dry floor for drying.
Irrigation: Tinospora Cordifolia should be watered everyday in the early stages and later at weekly intervals depending upon soil and climate conditions.

Medicinal Plant- Amukkuram/ Indian Ginseng

Common name: Winter cherry, Indian Ginseng
Scientific name: Withania somnifera (Linn.) Dunal.
 Parts used: Roots and Leaves

Commercial importance: The root of Asvagandha is used in the form of powder to treat consumption, excessive emaciation, bronchial asthma, rheumatic ailments, insomnia, cardiac diseases, wound due to accident, suppression of urine, and for conception in sterility.  Also used for inflammatory conditions , ulcers , and scabies in the form of external application . Leaves are used as a febrifuge and applied to lesions, painful swellings and sore eyes . Also used in rejuvenating preparations .  Ashwagandha, if given in proper dose, can restore the neurotransmitters and hence can be useful in various mental disorders. Ashwagandha can be used by both men and women and it acts to calm the mind and promote sound, restful sleep. Ashwagandha works as an adaptogen, promoting the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and resist stress. It prevents or minimizes imbalances that may lead to disease, whether from poor diet, lack of sleep, mental or physical strain, or chemical toxins in the environment. It is especially beneficial in stress related disorders such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, general debility, etc. It has also shown impressive results when used as a stimulant for the immune system. Ashwagandha is a unique herb with anti-stress adaptogenic action that leads to better physical fitness and helps to cope with life's daily stress.

How to cultivate

Withania somnifera is cultivated in sandy loam or light red soils having a PH of 7.5 to 8.0 with good drainage. It is a late rainy season crop. It requires relatively dry seasons, and the roots are fully developed when 1-2 late winter rains are received. The areas receiving 65-75 cm rainfall are best suited for its cultivation.
Withania somnifera is mainly grown on residual fertility and hence no manure or fertilizers are recommended.
Direct sowing: Seeds can be sown directly in the field by broadcasting since it is largely grown as a rainfed crop, sowing is determined by the monsoon. After receiving pre monsoon rainfall, soil is brought to fine tilth and the crop is sown during the second week of July. A seed rate of 10-12 kg per hectare is sufficient when the crop is raised by this method.
Transplanting: About 5 kg of seeds is required to provide seedlings for an area of one hectare. The seeds are sown in the nursery just before the onset of the rainy season. The seeds are lightly covered with soil and germinate in about 6-7 days after sowing. When the seedlings are about 6 weeks old they are transplanted in the field in 60 cms wide furrows 60 cm apart.
In the directly sown crop, the plants are thinned at 25-30 days after sowing to maintain a plant propulation of 20,000-25,000/ha. Hand weeding at 25-30 days interval helps to control the weeds effectively.
Harvesting starts from January and continues till March (150-170 days after sowing). The maturity of the crop is judged by the drying of leaves and red berries. The entire plant is uprooted for roots which are separated from the aerial parts by cutting the stem 1 - 2 cm above the crown.
The roots are cut into small pieces of 7 - 10 cm to facilitate drying. The berries plucked from dried plants are threshed to obtain the seeds for the next crop. An average yield of about 400 - 500 kg of roots and 50 kg of seeds are obtained from one hectare.

Medicinal Plant- Adapathiyan/Holostemma Creeper

Common name: Holostemma Creeper
Scientific Name: Holostemma ada-kodien Schultes
Parts used: Roots and the whole plant

Commercial importance: it is ideal for treating ear, burning sensation, cough, fever and diabetes. It is a vitalizing herb, anti aging, anti asthmatic and oleating adjunctive. It is also beneficial for eyes and alleviates all the three dosas. It is a remunerative tonic and anti diarrheal. Roots has cooling and lactative properties and is also an astringent to the bowels and is sweet. The root made into a paste is applied to eyes in ophthalmic and also for scalding in gonorrhoea. In diabetes, the root rubbed into a paste is given in cold milk. In spermatorrhoea, the dried root with an equal quantity of the root of Ceiba pentandra powder, is given in six doses with milk and sugar daily. It is employed in dicoction by the Santals, as a remedy for cough and also for orchitis. It is a Munda stomach ache medicine. It also cures ulcers, biliousness, diseases of the blood, worms, itching and vesicular calculi.

How to cultivate

The plant is propagated vegetatively by stem cuttings but mainly by seeds. But less than 10 per cent fruit set in this crop becomes a major constraint for large scale cultivation. The crop can be planted in open conditions or in partial shade. Prepare the land to a fine tilth during April-May by ploughing or digging. Planting is done on ridges of 30cm height, taken 50 cm apart. On this 2-3 months old seedlings or rooted cuttings can be planted at a spacing of 30 cm. Planting can be done in June-July. Cattle manure or compost at the rate of 10t/ha may be applied as basal dose at the time of land preparation. P and K fertilizers are found beneficial for increasing root yield, which can be applied basally and once or twice during the growing period. Weeding has to be done as and when necessary. When the plant starts vining, support can be provided with ropes. Flowering and fruit set occur during July-December. Dried fruits can be collected for seed purpose in January-February. The crop can be harvested in 18 months time. Harvesting is done by digging when the vines start drying up.  The tubers are cut in to pieces of 10 cm length and dried in sun.

Medicinal Plant- Adalodakam/ Vasaca small

Common name: Vasaca small, Malabar Nut
Parts used : Whole plant, Leaves and roots of the plant are medicinal. Leaves contain two major alkaloids called vasicine, and vasicinone.

Commercial importance: Plant is used for treating pitta, kapha, cough, bronchitis, asthma, inflammation, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, diseases of eyes, bleeding and diarrhea. Fresh or dried leaves of the plant constitute the drug Vasaka and are used for bronchial troubles and consumption. Leaf juice is used for glandular tumours. It is also prescribed commonly for local bleeding due to peptic ulcer, piles etc. Its local use gives relief from pyorrhoea and bleeding gums. Powdered leaves are used for skin troubles

How to cultivate:


Soil and climate
Though the crop grows in a variety of climatic and soil conditions, alluvial soils are best suited for raising the crop. The plant is tolerant to shade but is susceptible to water logging. It can be cultivated either as a pure crop or as an intercrop in coconut and rubber plantations in the initial 3-4 years.
Adhatoda is propagated by tender stem cuttings. Stem cuttings of 15-20 cm long and 3-4 nodes are ideal for planting. It is better to root the cuttings in nursery before transplanting in the main field. Nursery preparation can be done in March-April. For this, the tender stem cuttings are planted in poly bags filled with farm yard manure, top soil and sand in the ratio 1:1:1. Cuttings will root readily and will be ready to transplant to main field after two months.
Rooted cuttings of adhatoda can be planted on mounds or on ridges. Plough and level the main field thoroughly and ridges or mounds are prepared 60 cm away from each other. With the commencement of rainfall, rooted cuttings are planted on the ridges with a plant to plant spacing of 30 cm. If grown on mounds, up to 5 cuttings may be planted on a single mound. In sloppy areas cuttings are planted directly by making pits with a sharp pole. Adequate care should be taken to prevent water logging as it may promote rotting.
Manures and fertilizers
Apply organic manure in the form of FYM, compost or green leaf at the rate of 10 t/ha as basal dressing. Apply N:P:K each at the rate of 50 kg/ha. Entire P should be given basally and N and K may be given in two equal splits.  Keep the field free of weeds and give earthing up after topdressing with fertilizers.
Leaves, roots and stem of adhatoda are of medicinal value. Leaves can be harvested from the first year of planting itself; but roots will be ready to harvest only two years after planting. December-January is the ideal time for harvesting adhatoda. In the second year, the entire plant is harvested and roots are carefully dug out wholly without damage by carefully removing soil. Harvested roots are cleaned and marketed either in fresh form or after drying. Total yield of root, stem and leaves from one hectare of area will be 12.5 tonnes.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Choose Shrubs

When you are thinking of landscaping your yard, you may immediately think of annual and perennial flowers. However, a great way to fill out your landscape is to choose a shrub. Shrubs and bushes come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes to meet the needs of every garden. By picking the right ones, you can ensure that your yard is as beautiful as you want it to be.

Think About Shrub Size

Choosing the right size for your landscaping shrubs will take a lot of thought. There are factors to consider such as placement in the garden, and proximity to other plants. You want to make sure to plant shrubs that you can handle, and one that will complement your other landscape flowers and trees.

Shrub Placement in the Yard

Shrubs can be planted for different functions, and size is important in placement. If you have a slope that you want to plant for aesthetics or for erosion control, then a low growing variety like juniper is a good idea. They will fill in the slope after a few years. Larger shrubs can be planted near the home for climate control in summer and winter. Use small to medium shrubs to accent pools, patios and walkways.

Shrub Proximity to Other Plants

Some shrubs can grow to ten feet or more, and depending on where they are planted, can shade other parts of the landscape that may require full sun. If putting in close to other plants, consider planting larger shrubs on the northeast side of the landscape. Smaller shrubs are a good bet if you are concerned about sun exposure.

Shrub Color

Colors are one of the greatest benefits of shrubbery in the home landscape. There are so many colors and varieties that there is one for every season. These shrubs will add flair to your garden that may be longer lasting than flowers and trees. Evergreens even come in a variety of shades that will give interest to your yard. Beautiful flowering shrubs can add colors from white, to red, to blue, and every color in between. Think about seasonal color when planting. Shrubs that produce colorful berries in the winter, such as holly are available, and not only add color, but also feed birds and small animals in the garden. Azaleas and rhododendrons produce fabulous blooms in the spring, and are some of the first to produce color after a long winter.

Climate for Shrubs

Some shrubs are better suited to different growing conditions. In the south and southwest, heat and drought tolerant shrubs such as boxwood and spirea are good choices. In the north and east, it makes sense for you to plant cold tolerant bushes such as arborvitae and blueberry. Salinity is another climate precipitated problem that needs to be considered. In beach areas, and in cold climates where salt is applied for snow and ice control, it is important to consider shrubs that can tolerate these conditions. These include bayberry, snowberry and lilac.

Popular Shrub Choices

It can be hard to sort out the choices between the hundreds of landscaping shrubs available. Some popular choices are those that are fast growing, colorful, and long lasting. The forsythia has bright yellow flowers, and can grow to be up to ten feet high. It is a good choice for defining boundaries in the yard. The hydrangea is possibly one of the most beautiful shrubs in the yard. Flowers range anywhere in color from pink to blue depending upon the acidity in the soil. If you want to attract butterflies to your yard, try butterfly bushes, and create a natural fence with a line of arborvitae.
Whatever you choose, shrubbery should be considered in every landscape. They add interest because of their size and color, and will last for a long time in the yard. You will find yourself enjoying your shrubs year after year.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Botanical Description of Rice


The growth duration of the rice plant is 3-6 months, depending on the variety and the environment under which it is grown.
During this time, rice completes two distinct growth phases
  • Vegetative and
  • Reproductive.
The vegetative phase is subdivided into
  1. Germination
  2. Early seedling growth and
  3. Tillering
The reproductive phase is subdivided into
  1. Stem elongation
  2. Panicle initiation
  3. Panicle development
  4. Flowering
  5. Milk grain
  6. Dough grain and
  7. Mature grain stage.
  8. A 120-day variety, when planted in a tropical environment, spends about 60 days in the vegetative phase, 30 days in the reproductive phase, and 30 days in the ripening phase.
Vegetative phase
The vegetative phase is characterized by active tillering, gradual increase in plant height, and leaf emergence at regular intervals. Tillers that do not bear panicles are called ineffective tillers. The number of ineffective tillers is a closely examined trait in plant breeding since it is undesirable in irrigated varieties, but it is sometimes an advantage in rainfed lowland varieties where productive tillers or panicles may be lost due to unfavorable conditions.
The stages under Vegetative phase includes:
1.       Seedling stage: From sowing to transplanting stage, root formation and leaf formation takes place.
2.       Active vegetative stage: Growth to maximum tiller number.
3.       During this phase tiller number, height and straw weight increases.
4.       The duration of this phase is primarily a function of the amount of nitrogen available to maintain the nitrogen content in the plant above the critical load.
5.       Tillering is closely related to nitrogen content in the plant, especially soluble nitrogen in the culture.
6.       The critical nitrogen content of the culm is said to be about 7 %.
7.       Vegetative lag phase: From maximum tiller number stage to panicle initiation stage.
8.       The tiller number decreases, increase in height and straw weight continues but less rapidly than before.
9.       Varietal characteristics and climatic conditions, especially day length and temperature, determine the duration from sowing to panicle initation.
10.    If total growth duration is short the reproduction phase and the active vegetative phase overload.

Reproductive phase
  1. The reproductive growth phase is characterized by culm elongation (which increases plant height), decline in tiller number, emergence of the the last leaf, booting, heading, and flowering of the spikelets.
  2. Panicle initiation is the stage about 25 days before heading when the panicle has grown to about 1 mm long and can be recognized visually or under magnification following stem dissection.
  3. Spikelet anthesis (or flowering) begins with panicle exertion (heading), or on the following day.
  4. Consequently, heading is considered as a synonym for anthesis in rice.
  5. It takes 10-14 days for a rice crop to complete heading because there is variation in panicle exertion among tillers of the same plant and among plants in the same field.
  6. Agronomically, heading is usually defined as the time when 50% of the panicles have emerged.
  7. Anthesis normally occurs between 1000 and 1300 h in tropical environments and fertilization is completed within 6 h.
  8. Only very few spikelets have anthesis in the afternoon, usually when the temperature is low.
  9. Within the same panicle it takes 7-10 days for all the spikelets to complete anthesis; the spikelets themselves complete anthesis with 5 days.
  10. Ripening follows fertilization, and may be subdivided into milky, dough, yellow-ripe, and maturity stages.
  11. These terms are primarily based on the texture and color of the growing grains.
  12. The length of ripening varies among varieties from about 15 to 40 days.
The grain yield of rice is determined by the following four components:
  1. Number of panicles/m2
  2. Number of grains / panicle
  3. Percentage of ripened grains.
  4. 1000 gm weight.

The rice grain, commonly called as seed, consists of the true fruit or brown rice (caryopsis) and the hull, which encloses the brown rice Brown rice consists mainly of the embryo and endosperm. The surface contains several thin layers of differentiated tissues that enclose the embryo and endosperm.
The palea, lemmas, and rachilla constitute the hull of Indica rices, In Japonica rices, however, the hull usually includes rudimentary glumes and perhaps a portion of the pedicel.
A single grain weighs about 10-45 mg at 0% moisture content. Grain length, width, and thickness vary widely among varieties. Hull weight averages about 20% of total grain weight.
Germination and seedling development start when seed dormancy has been broken and the seed absorbs adequate water and is exposed to a temperature ranging from about 10 to 40oC.The physiological definition of germination is usually the time when the radicle or coleoptil(embryonic shoot) emerges from the ruptured seed coat. Under aerated conditions the seminal root is the first to emerge through the coleorhiza from the embryo, and this is followed by the coleoptile. Under anaerobic conditions, however, the coleoptile is the first to emerge, with the roots developing when the coleoptile has reached the aerated regions of the environment.
If the seed develops in the dark as and when seeds are sown beneath the soil surface, a short stem (mesocotyl) develops, which lifts the crown of the plant just below the soil surface. After the coleoptile emerges it splits and the primary leaf develops.
The root
The rice root system consists of two major types: crown roots (including mat roots) and nodal roots. In fact both these roots develop from nodes, but crown roots develop from nodes below the soil surface. Roots that develop from nodes above the soil surface usually referred as nodal roots. Nodal roots are often found in rice cultivars growing at water depths above 80 cm.
Most rice varieties reach a maximum depth of 1m or deeper in soft upland soils. In flooded soils, however, rice roots seldom exceed a depth of 40 cm. That is largely a consequence of limited O2 diffusion through the gas spaces of roots (aerenchyma) to supply the growing root tips. The rice plant is an annual grass with round, hallow, jointed culms, rather flat leaves and a terminal panicle. It has fibrous roots which consists of rootlets and root hairs.
The seedlings first have the embryonic roots and later the adventitious roots that are produced from the underground nodes of the young culms. On germination primary root develops from the base of the grain, quickly followed by two additional roots, all subsequently giving rise to short lateral roots. The main rooting system of the plant, however develops from the nodes of the stem below ground level. In the "floating rices", whorls of adventitious roots are formed from the first three very short nodes, giving rise to whorls of permanent adventitious roots.
Tillers are produced at the nodes and adventitious roots are produced from lower nodes of these culms, so that the plant quickly develops a mass of adventitious roots. Under normal conditions the root system is fairly compact, the roots tending to develop horizontally rather than vertically, the plant therefore draws its nutrients from nearby surface of the soil.
Root development is influenced by soil texture, cultivation, water and air in the soil, the amount of available food supply and by the system of transplanting.
The stem
The main axis of the stem is differentiated from the growing point of the embryo, enclosed at first by the coleoptile. The ultimate height of the stem depends on the number of internodes and environmental conditions. Early strains of short maturation period have lower internodes than those with a long maturation period. The number of internodes may vary from about ten to twenty.
The culm is more or less erect, cylindrical, and hollow except at the nodes, and varies in thickness from about 6-8 mm. Nodes are clearly defined by the presence of a distinct thickening, the pulvinus, immediately above the node. The pulvinus may be coloured, varying in intensity from a "touch" of purple to a deep uniform purple. The colour of the pulvinus is always associated with colours in the leaf sheath. The internodes may be green coloured. The pigment in the coloured form may be different in the epidermis or in the parenchyma or confined to the bundle sheaths.
A bud may form in the axil of each leaf of the main stem, but normally only the lowermost bud from the crowded nodes at ground level develop into branches, thus a typical tillered plant develops.
The leaf
The number of leaves borne on an axis is equal to the number of nodes since the number of nodes on the tillers is progressively more than n the main axis, the number of leaves on the tiller is correspondingly lower. The first leaf of the plant is the sheathing leaf or coleoptile. The second leaf emerging through the lateral sheath of the coleoptile is reduced in size and has practically no blade. The remaining leaves are normal, except the uppermost or "flag" which is slightly modified. The bud of potential tiller is enclosed in the sheath. The normal vegetative leaf has sheath, auricles and blade. The leaves are born at an angle of every node and they possess two parts viz., blade or expanded parts and the leaf sheath which wraps the culms.
The sheath
The sheath is always present as a whole or part of the internode from the pulvinus upwards. As the base of the sheath tend to exceed the length of the internode and consequently enwrap the base of the succeeding sheath to a variable extent, from the tenth leaf upwards.However, the internodes are longer and the sheaths are relatively and progressively shorter than the internodal length.
Growth of the sheath is mainly from the base and may continue after the blade has attained its maximum length. The sheath splits at the base, is finely ribbed, and is more or less glabrous. Colour, if any may be confirmed to the base, or may be distributed through out the sh21eath, and may be visible either on the outer surface or on the inner surface, or both. The pigment occurs in the epidermal cells, in tissues surrounding the bundles, or distributed throughout the ligule.
The ligule is present in all most all varieties of paddy and its membranous, and tends to split as it develops. The ligule may be colour less or coloured, a faint pink or purple. A coloured ligule is always associated with colour in the sheath.
The auricles are situated at the junction of the sheath and blade and are sickle shapped. Long slender teeth are normally present on the convex face of each ligule colour if present, is always assoicated with colour in the pulvinus. If the auricles are coloured, so also is the sheath, but the converse is not true. Some strains of paddy are devoid of auricles.
Rice plants have both auricles and ligules which make a distinguishing character of rice to differentiate from Echinochloa spp., (a most common weed in rice fields).
The blade
The leaves are long and narrow, usually pubescent or hispid, with a distinct midrib, but varying considerably in length. The leaves of many varieties are coloured, the colour being usually concentrated in the midrib region and on the margins, though occasionally the whole leaf is coloured. The uppermost leaf or "flag" of the axis posseses a blade always shorter and broader than the lower leaves. As the panicle emerges from the sheath, its blade is nearly parallel to the panicle axis. After the panicle has emerged the blade falls. Ultimately the panicle is either at an acute angle to the axis, more or less horizontal then it leads definite drooping.
 Tillering plants

Each stem of rice is made up of a series of nodes and internodes. The internodes vary in length depending on variety and environmental conditions, but generally increase from the lower to upper part of the stem. Each upper node bears a leaf and a bud, which can grow into a tiller. The number of nodes varies from 13 to 16 with only the upper 4 or 5 separated by long internodes. Under rapid increase in water level some deepwater rice varieties can also increase the lower internode lengths by over 30 cm each.
The leaf blade is attached at the node by the leaf sheath, which encircles the stem. Where the leaf blade and the leaf sheath meet is a pair of claw like appendages, called the auricle, which encircle the stem. Coarse hairs cover the surface for the auricle. Immediately above the auricle is a thin, upright membrane called the ligule. The tillering stage starts as soon as the seedling is self supporting and generally finishes at panicle initiation.
Tillering usually begins with the emergence of the first tiller when seedlings have five leaves. This first tiller develops between the main stem and second leaf from the base of the plant. Subsequently when the 6th leaf emerges the second tiller develops between the main stem and the 3rd leaf from the base.
Tillers growing from the main stem are called primary tillers. These may generate secondary tillers, which may in turn generate tertiary tillers. These are produced in asynchronous manner. Although the tillers remain attached to the plant, at later stages they are independent because they produce their own roots. Varieties and including spacing, light, nutrient supply, and cultural practices.

 Panicle and spikelets
The major structures of the panicle are the base, axis, primary and secondary branches, pedicel, rudimentary glumes, and the spikelets. The panicle axis extends from the panicle base to the apex; it has 8-10 nodes at 8 to 4 cm interval from which primary branches develop.
Secondary branches develop from the primary branches. Pedicels develop from the nodes of the primary and secondary branches; the spikelets are positioned above them. Since rice has only one fully developed floret (flower) per spikelet, these terms are often used interchangeably. The inflorescence is a spikelet borne on a long peduncle. The rachis bears branches, either single or in pairs, from which arise the spikelets. The number of spikelets on panicle varies considerably with the variety from a few to some hundreds.
The spikelet, or flower is borne on a short stalk, the pedicel. There are two short, rudimentary, bristle like outer glumes , and the flower is enclosed in two inner glumes of boat shaped.Flowering glumes or lemma are provided with fine nerves and the palea is similar in size and texture to the lemma but is three nerved.
Both the lemma and palea may be awned or awnless. The flower consists of two small, oval, thick, and fleshing bodies, the lodicules situated at the base of the axis. Unlike other cereals, paddy has six well developed and functioning stamens provided with short filaments and a pistil with a plumose stigma. The stigma is some what longer than broad, smooth and bears two styles and sometimes a short, rudimentary third. The three some times growing together at the base.