Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 465–471 | Cite as

Domestication of Alpine blue-sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina (L.) Wallr.): six year trial results

  • Fabrizio Scartezzini
  • Pietro Fusani
  • Nicola Aiello
  • Carla Vender
Research Article


Alpine blue-sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina (L.) Wallr.) is a perennial herb distributed all along the entire Alpine Arc, the shoots of which are still collected in the wild in several areas of Northern-Eastern Italy for food purposes. Our paper deals with experiments of domestication of this species carried out in the surroundings of Trento and lasted from 2004 to 2010. The cultivation was carried out transplanting seedlings, obtained by wild seed of a unique accession. One experimental trial (2004/2008) was carried in the location Frisanchi, located at 1,078 m a.s.l. In this trial the theses compared 4 harvests, 1 week spaced, carried out respectively in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year after the transplant. Of the total quantity harvested after 4 years, the most shoots (60) and the highest dried weight per m2 (14 g) were obtained from shoots collected 2 or 3 years after being transplanted. However, comparing the shoots yielded in the last year of the trial only (2008), the best results were obtained from 3 or 4-year-old transplants (42 shoots/m2; 8.2 g dry weight). Nevertheless there four times harvesting of shoots weakened the plants’ development and a high failure rates was recorded. In addition to the real experimental trial another small cultivation was carried out in an higher location, Monte Bondone at 1,500 m a.s.l., in which 5 years after the transplant (2010) only 2 harvests were carried out. In this experiment the yield recorded was very encouraging (10.5 g m2) and also the quality of the shoots collected was good.


Alpine environment Cicerbita alpina Field management Shoot quality Shoot yield Wild collecting 



Most of this research was part of the project “Edible, Aromatic and Medicinal Alpine Plants, a resource to value” (PARMA) financed by the Autonomous Province of Trento (2004–2008).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrizio Scartezzini
    • 1
  • Pietro Fusani
    • 2
  • Nicola Aiello
    • 1
  • Carla Vender
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research CouncilForest Monitoring and Management Research Unit (CRA-MPF)Villazzano-TrentoItaly
  2. 2.Agricultural Research CouncilFruit Tree Research Unit (CRA-FRC)CasertaItaly

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