Submitted to: Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2006
Publication Date: 12/1/2006
Citation: Ritchey, K.D., Ferreira, J.F. 2006. Short-Term Response of "Artemisia annua" to Lime, P, K, and N in a Dystrophic Soil. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants. 12(1/2):49-59. Interpretive Summary: "Artemisia annua" (Sweet Annie) is a medicinal plant useful in treating malaria and currently is in short supply. Little is known about responses of artemisia to fertilizer additions in poor, acid soils of Appalachia. We thought that since artemisia is a weed already present in the region, it might grow well in infertile soil. To test this we performed a short-term greenhouse pot study using an acid, low-fertility WV soil. We added lime, phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen to form a nutritionally complete treatment, and omitted each of these in turn to form treatments deficient in each element. In the soil we tested we found that artemisia responded vigorously to lime and phosphorus, and moderately to potassium and nitrogen, indicating that farmers need to evaluate the fertility status of their fields carefully if planning to grow this crop.
Technical Abstract: Artemisia annua is currently recommended by the World Health Organization for preparation of a first line anti-malarial drug where chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum has been detected, but demand currently exceeds supply. Little published information is available about nutrient requirements of this medicinal crop. A short-term study was conducted to determine if A. annua Hililo x 3M, a late flowering genotype, would respond to omission of lime, P, K, or N in an acidic, low-fertility soil of central Appalachia. Marked responses in total dry matter yield were observed to lime> P> K= N indicating that farmers planning to grow A. annua need to evaluate soil fertility before planting. This cultivar of A. annua appeared to have a slightly higher N requirement than lettuce, which was used as a standard for the short-term soil-cultivar-specific fertility response trial. Lime and P deficiency reduced artemisia total dry matter yield by over 50%. However, deficiencies of K and N reduced total dry matter yield by less than 27%.