International Journal of Botany Studies


International Journal of Botany Studies


International Journal of Botany Studies
International Journal of Botany Studies
Vol. 6, Issue 2 (2021)

Medicinal plants for intercropping in plantations


I’ma Neerakkal

One of the important constraints faced by the medicinal plant sector is depletion of the resource base by unsustainable wild harvesting. Intercropping or multistoried cropping of plants in the plantation crops of Kerala is a suitable proposition for ex situ conservation of shade adapted medicinal plants. The survey conducted on the available economically important shade adapted medicinal plants which were naturally growing under the canopy of plantation crops and home steads of Kerala revealed that there is a rich diversity and listed 37 species. They are are Adhatoda beddomei, Adhatoda vasica, Aegle marmelos, Aloe vera, Alpinia galanga, Asparagus racemosus, Azadirachta indica, Boerhaavia diffusa, Cardiospermum halicacabum, Curculigo orchioides, Chonemorpha fragrans, Desmodium gangeticum, Embelia ribes, Gloriosa superba, Holostemma adakodien Indigofera tinctoria, Ipomoea mauritiana, Kaempferia galangal, Kaempferia rotunda, Mucuna Pruriens Phyllanthus amarus, Piper longum, Plumbago rosea, Pseudarthria viscidia, Rauwolfia serpentine, Ricinus communis, Sesamum inducum, Sida rhombifolia, Solanum anguivi, Strobilanthes heyneanus, Trichosanthes anguina, Tylophora indica, Vigna radiate, Vigna pilosa, Vitex negundo, Withania somnifera, Woodfordia fruticosa. Of the 22 families and 34 genera in which these 37 species of medicinal plants are recorded, the family fabaceae recorded the maximum species. Family Acanthaceae, Liliaceae and Zingiberaceae also share a large proportion of medicinal plant species. Habit wise analysis of these shade adapted medicinal plants shows herbaceous flora (17 species) is the dominant followed by shrubs (13 species). In the preliminary field experiment, these 37 species of medicinal plants obtained from the botanical survey, were screened for adaptability and shade tolerance by growing them in the interspaces of mature rubber plantations. Studies identified the Following 5 species of medicinal plants to be best suited for intercropping in rubber plantations-Adhatoda beddomei, Adhatoda vasica, Alpinia galangal, Plumbago rosea and Strobilanthes heyneanus. They can be successfully and profitably intercropped in rubber plantations. The study also indicated that intercropping did not cause any adverse effect on the yield of dry rubber.
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