Economic Botany

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 139–147 | Cite as

Resprouting of Echinacea angustifolia Augments Sustainability of Wild Medicinal Plant Populations

Article

Abstract

Resprouting of Echinacea angustifolia Augments Sustainability of Wild Medicinal Plant Populations. Overharvest of wild Echinacea species root has been a significant concern to the herbal industry. Harvesters of wild Echinacea angustifolia showed us that even after harvesting the top 15 to 20 cm of root, some plants resprout. We marked locations of harvested plants at sites in Kansas and Montana and reexamined them two years later to see if they resprouted from remaining root reserves. Approximately 50% of the roots resprouted at both Kansas and Montana sampling sites, despite droughty weather conditions in Montana. The length of root harvested significantly affected the ability of the plant to resprout. Those plants that were more shallowly harvested and had less root length removed were more likely to resprout. These data indicate that echinacea stands can recover over time from intensive harvest if periods of nonharvest occur. Our echinacea harvest study emphasizes that the entire biology of medicinal plants must be considered when evaluating their conservation status.

Keywords

Wild harvest medicinal plants roots dormancy resprouting overharvesting echinacea 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We want to thank the echinacea harvesters that we worked with, including Pam and John Luna of Plainville, Kansas, and Terry and Laura Fox at Buck Mountain Ranch, Miles City, Montana. Fieldworkers included Maggie Riggs, Erika Noguera, Hillary Loring, Suneeti Jog, and Quinn Long. Tables and figures, along with edits and comments, by Bernadette Kuhn, Jennifer Delisle, and Debra Baker were invaluable. The manuscript was improved by edits, comments, and insights from Michael McGuffin, Robyn Klein, Hillary Loring, Suneeti Jog, and Joe-Ann McCoy. Funding for this work came from the U.S. Forest Service (Project Number—01-CS-11015600–060) and Terry Fox of Buck Mountain Botanicals.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kansas Biological SurveyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Resources SectionUS Army Corps of Engineers Albuquerque DistrictAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Science and MathematicsGlenville State CollegeGlenvilleUSA

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