|Livestock Research for Rural Development 28 (2) 2016||Guide for preparation of papers||LRRD Newsletter||
Citation of this paper
Becium grandiflorum is one of the major honeybee plants to Ethiopia. Honeybees highly visiting the plant for collecting pollen or/and nectar. Even stem cutting was recommended to propagate the plantas bee fodder with cutting height of 20 cm, its optimum cutting diameter was not yet determined. This affects the regeneration and performance of newly raised seedlings of the plant through cutting. Hence, this study was designed to identify the optimum cutting thickens or diameter of B. grandiflorum for bee forage development. The study was carried out at the farm of Mekelle Agricultural Research Center, Mekelle. The experiment was laid in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three treatments and three replications. The treatments were cutting thickness of 10mm to13 mm, >13 mm to16 mm and >16 mm to 19 mm. Treatments means were compared using least significant difference (LSD) test at 5% level of probability using Genstat software version 14.
Cutting diameter had significant effect on the number of branches and head flower per plant. Cutting diameter of 10 mm to 13 mm had the highest number of branches (22.96) and head flowers (448),while cutting diameter of >16 mm to 19 mm had the smallest number of branches (18.22) and head flowers (369) per plant. Therefore, for the successful propagation of B. grandiflorum, it is recommended to use 10 mm to13 mm stem cuttings diameter.
Keywords: Becium grandiflorum, cuttings, honeybee
Becium grandiflorum is an endemic plant to Ethiopia and grows in highlands and midhighlands of the country (Fichtl and Admassu 1994). B. grandiflorum is found dominantly in the Northern part of the nation, Tigray region (Fichtl and Admassu 1994; Bein et al 1996). It is locally known as Tebeb. B. grandiflorum is one of the major honeybee plants of the region and honeybees foraging it for collecting pollen or/and nectar (Fichtl and Admassu 1994; Haftom and Kbebew 2013). The plant gives flower directly after short rain and give flower up to four times per year if there is continuous water supply (Haftom and Kbebew 2013).
According to the local beekeepers and experts B. grandiflorum gives white honey which has the highest price and demand. Greenness over long period with long flowering period, its white honey, higher bees preference, uses for making “shintar” that is used for eating the traditional food made from barley flour called “Tihlo’’ and traditional medicine, and uses for fuel enhanced its acceptance by many beekeepers and they ranked as second major honeybee plant of the region (Haftom et al 2013). Because of its apicultural, social and environmental value governmental and non governmental organizations have special interest to multiply this plant.
Stem cuttings is the preferred method for propagation of B. grandiflorum even the plant can be propagated through sowing, seedling, air layering, ground layering and splitting (Haftom and Kbebew 2012). To propagate the plant as bee fodder its optimum cutting height is 20 cm (Haftom and Tesfay 2013). However its optimum cutting diameter was not yet determined. This may affects the regeneration and performance of newly raised seedlings of the plant through cutting (Zhang et al 2010) and hinders its regeneration through seed. Hence, the present study was undertaken to determine the optimum cutting diameter of B. grandiflorum for rapid bee forage development.
The study was carried out in 2013/2014 cropping season at the farm of Mekelle Agricultural Research Center; Mekelle. Mekelle Agricultural Research Center is found at an altitude of 2012 m.a.s.l. and N 13°31’21. 2” latitude and E 39°30’14.7” longitude.
For this experiment cuttings were collected from the apiary sites of Mekelle Agricultural Research Center, Illala site. After collecting the planting materials, the cuttings were categorized based on their thickness. Cuttings were planted directly in plastic sleeves with a soil mixture of silt, sand and manure at the ratio of 20: 2: 5, respectively for raising seedlings. For evaluating the plants raised through different cutting thickens transplantation of the seedlings to the experimental site was done after 86 days. All the seedlings raised from the different cutting diameter were planted in pits with a diameter and depth of 20 cms. After transplanting the seedlings on the experimental plot, supplementary irrigation was provided once a week when there was no rain falls.
The diameter at the midpoint of each cutting was measured and the cuttings were divided into three size classes: 10 mm to13 mm, >13 mm to16 mm and >16 mm to 19 mm. The experiment was conducted in a randomized completely block design with three replications. In each plot 9 seedlings were planted. Each cutting diameter was considered as a treatment.
The newly raised seedlings were planted at 1.5 m distance between plants, 1.5 m distance between rows, 1.5 m distance between plots and 1.5 m distance between blocks. To grow the plant under its natural condition fertilizer was not applied during the experiment. Weeds were kept minimum by hand weeding.
|Figure 1. Becium grandiflorum during the study growing through different cutting diameter|
The effect of cutting diameter was evaluated in terms of plant height, number of branches and head flowers per plant, canopy cover and flowering period. The height of the plant was measured from ground to the tip of the longest branch with the help of a measuring tape. Numbers of branches and head flowers per plant were determined by counting the main stems and head flowers, respectively. The canopy cover was determined by measuring the diameter of the plants towards East–West and North–South and then the average canopy cover of the plant was calculated by divided to two.
The flowering period of the plant was determined by recording the number of days from flower starting to flower ending per plant. Days to first flowering also calculated by calculating the number of days from date of transplanting to the experimental plots to its first days flower starting. In this case date to first flowering period was recorded at its 10% of flowering. The number of days required by the plant to start its flower after starting rain fall (summer) was also calculated by recording the time in which rain fall started and date of 10% flowering of the plant.
The data on the vegetative characteristic and flower bio mass were subjected to analysis of variance and the significant differences between means were determined by using the Least Significant Difference (LSD) test at the 5% level of probability using Genstat software version 14.
From the total cuttings planted in the nursery sites from each cutting diameters (60) in the plastic sleeves,49 (81%), 51 (85%) and 46 (76.7%) new seedlings produced successfully from 10 mm to 13 mm, >13 mm to16 mm and >16 mm to 19 mm cutting diameters, respectively which were ready for transplantation. This indicates that 76.7% to 81% new seedlings of B. grandiflorum can be raised through stem cutting.and more seedlings were raised from the cutting diameter of 13 mm-16 mm.
Cutting diameter had significant effect on the number of branches per plant (Table 1). Cutting diameter of 10 mm -13 mm had the highest number of branches (22.96), while plants with cutting diameter of >16 mm to 19 mm had the smallest number of branches per plant (18.22). As demonstrated in table 1, the number of branches decreased with increasing the cutting diameter. Sulaiman et al (2005) also revealed as stem diameter affected plant growth and shoot number. The smallest number of branches of the plants with large cutting diameter (>16-19 mm) might be attributed to the woody nature of the cutting that might have converted most of the food materials to lignin which later on resulted to lower rooting and shooting. This result was similar to the study conducted by Kathiravan et al (2009) on Jatropha species. In Feijoa sellowiana cutting diameter had also significant effect on growth quantity of shoots obtained (Zhang et al 2010).
Cutting diameter had also significant effect on the number of head flowers per plant (Table 1). Cutting diameter of 10 mm to13 mm had the highest number of head flowers per plant (448), while cutting diameter of >16 mm to 19 mm had the smallest number of head flowers per plant (369). This might be due to the difference in the number of branches amongst the treatments. Rajesh (2010) revealed that the flowering performance of a plant is considered to be the sum of all the genetic, physiological and morphological traits of a specific plant. John et al (1987) also reported as a plant with more vegetative growth develops more flowers. However, cutting diameter had not significant effect on plant height (Table 1).
Plants with cutting thickness of 10 mm to13 mm, >13 mm to16 mm and >16 mm to 19 mm had a canopy cover 140.9 cm, 133.9 cm and 135.5 cm, respectively. Related to canopy cover however there was no significant different amongst the treatments (Table 1).
|Table 1. Number of branches and head flowers per plant, plant height, canopy cover and flowering period of B. grandiflorum|
|Treatment||Number of branches||Number of head flowers||Height (cm)||Canopy cover|
|10 mm to13 mm||22.9a||448a||104.0a||140.9a|
|>13 mm to16 mm||19.2ab||376b||100.4a||133.9a|
|>16 mm to 19 mm||18.2b||369b||100.3a||135.5a|
Cutting diameter had not significant effect on flowering period of B. grandiflorum (Table 2). The maximum and minimum flowering period of B. grandiflorum was 88 days and 66 days,respectively. The long flowering period of the plants is mainly due to the indeterminate flowering pattern of the plant and this gives a chance for bees to more collect pollen and /or nectar for long period of time.
Cutting diameter had not also a significant effect related to flower starting date or the number of days to start flower (10%) after transplanting the seedlings to their experimental and after starting rain fall in the study area (Table 2). After transplanting the seedlings to their experimental plot, the plant gave flower after 267days. After starting rainfall in the experimental site the plant gave flower after 9 days. This gives an opportunity for bees to provided pollen or/and nectar for bees after short period of rain. Haftom and Kbebew (2011) also revealed as flowering frequency of the plant depend on the availability of rain fall and the plant gave flower up to four times/year through providing water during the dry season.
|Table 2. Total number of flowers/plant, days to first flowering and flowering period of B. grandiflorum|
|Treatment||Days to first flowering
from day of transplanting
|Flowering period||Days to start flower after
starting rain (10% flowering)
|10 mm to13 mm||267.6a||78.3a||9.0a|
|>13 mm to16 mm||267.7a||78.9a||9.7a|
|>16 mm to 19 mm||266.8a||80.9a||8.9a|
|Figure 2. Becium grandiflorum during its flowering and when honeybee collecting pollen and nectar|
This work was supported by the Mekelle Agricultural Research center and I am grateful for the financial support provided by the Mekelle Agricultural Research Center of the Tigray Agricultural Research Institute. Lastly I am also grateful for Elsa Beyene for her technical support during conducting the study.
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Received 7 January 2016; Accepted 10 January 2016; Published 1 February 2016
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