Economic Botany

, 49:380 | Cite as

Seed germination, nitrogen nutrition and water requirements of the edible herbCorchorus tridens (Tlliaceae)

  • Catherine M. Dzerefos
  • Charles M. Shackleton
  • Mary C. Scholes


The use of Corchorus tridens for food and medicine is popular among rural communities in the Eastern Transvaal lowveld of South Africa. Its prolific seed production, spontaneous germination, and distribution in water stressed regions suggest that cultivation of this species could be feasible. A study was initiated to investigate this. Seed coat scarification improved the percentage of germination by almost 30%. A high temperature range (15–30°C) increased germination relative to a low temperature range (10–20°C). A factorial experiment consisting of three nitrogen forms (ammonium sulphate, potassium nitrate and a 1:1 mixture of these) and three levels of irrigation (at 35%, 50% and 75% field capacity) was conducted. Productivity improved mostly with nitrate fertiliser, followed by a nitrate-ammonium mixture and lastly with ammonium applications. The nitrogen form and water treatment did not significantly increase total dry weight production, mean relative growth rates or root:shoot ratios.

Key Words

Edible herb nitrogen low available water 

Saatkeimung, Stickstoff Aufnahme und Wasserbedarf des Essbaren KrautsCorchorus Tridens (Tiliaceae)


In der laendlichen Bevoelkerung der Oestlichen Transvaal-Ebene in Suedafrika wird Corchorus tridens seit langem und gerne als Nahrungsmittel und Heilkraut verwendet. Reiche Samenproduktion, spontane Keimung und Vorkommen in wasserarmen Gegenden legen es nahe, die Kultivierung von Corchorus zu versuchen, um das Angebot zu vergroessern. Eine Studie wurde angelegt, um diese Moeglichkeit zu erforschen, mit den folgenden Ergebnissen: Aufritzen der Samenkapsel fuehrte zu einer 30% hoeheren Anzahl von keimenden Samen. Waermere Temperaturen (15–30°C) fuehrten ebenfalls zu besseren Keimzahlen im Vergleich zu kuehleren Tem-peraturen (10–20°C). Zusaetzlich wurde experimentiert mit Zugabe von Stickstoff in drei ver-schiedenen Formen (Ammoniumsulfat, Potassiumnitrat und einem 1:1 Gemisch aus beiden), und mit Wassergabe, die zu drei verschiedenen Saettigungsgraden im Boden fuehtre: 35%, 50% und 75%. Messungen des Trockengewichts ergaben, dass der groesste Produktionszuwachs mit Potassiumnitrat erreicht werden konnte, gefolgt vom Nitratgemisch, und am wenigsten durch Ammoniumgabe. Jedoch wurden Trockengewicht, durchschnittliche Wachstumsraten und Wurzel-Spross Verhaeltnisse nicht in signifikanter Hoehe durch die verschiedenen Nitrat- und Wassergaben veraendert.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine M. Dzerefos
    • 1
  • Charles M. Shackleton
    • 2
  • Mary C. Scholes
    • 3
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Wits Rural FacilityAcornhoekSouth Africa
  3. 3.Botany DepartmentUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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