Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 8, 1999
Publication Date: March 20, 2000
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Elwinger, G. 2000. Seedling development of chicory and plantain. Agronomy Journal. 92:69-74. Interpretive Summary: Establishing new pastures from seed is risky. Seedlings encounter stress from competition among other factors. Rapid development of leaves and establishment of a critical root mass and number are necessary to ensure seedling survival. Knowledge of the growth and development of new forages is necessary for developing appropriate management practices and in formulating potential species mixtures for pasture seedings. The objectiv of this research was to develop fundamental information on the growth and development of chicory and plantain during the seeding year. Results indicated that both chicory and plantain establish readily under northeastern conditions and produce forage of higher quality than orchardgrass. These characteristics will help farmers realize greater returns from forage crops in the seeding year. These data confirm the usefulness of chicory as a forage and indicate potential for plantain as a forage crop; however, longer term data are needed on its yield, persistence, and animal performance.
Technical Abstract: Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) have been introduced recently as perennial herbs for pastures. We conducted growth chamber, greenhouse, and field studies to compare growth and development of chicory and plantain during establishment. 'Grasslands Puna', 'La Certa', and 'Forage Feast' chicory, and 'Ceres Tonic', and 'Grasslands Lancelot' plantain were grown from seed in the growth chamber and greenhouse and seedlings were destructively sampled weekly for 7 wk beginning 8 to 10 d after planting. The number and weight of leaves and roots (primary, lateral, basal, and adventitious; growth chamber only) were recorded. The same cultivars were sown in field plots in spring and fall 1997 to determine leaf developmental rates. Field plots of the same cultivars and 'Pennlate' orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) were established in May 1997 and harvested in October to determine seeding year yields and forage quality. Puna chicory developed a larger root mass and root to shoot mass ratio than plantains, whereas plantains had greater root length than chicory in the greenhouse. Plantains developed 8 to 10 adventitious roots on the hypocotyl, whereas the chicorys developed only one or two. There were no differences among species or cultivars in number of basal roots. Lancelot plantain developed more lateral roots than Tonic plantain. Lancelot and Tonic plantain yielded 70% more dry matter than Pennlate orchardgrass (4320 vs 2542 kg ha-1) and chicory averaged 3176 kg ha-1. Forage quality (fiber, crude protein, and digestibility) was greater in chicory and plantain than in orchardgrass. Plantain has potential as a forage crop; however, long-term data are needed on persistence.