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Bio-agronomical evaluation of Californian poppy (eschscholtzia californica Cham.) in a semi-arid mediterranean environment

Carrubba, A., La Torre, R., Calabrese, I.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.576
Eschscholzia californica, Mediterranean climate, adults, aerial parts, analgesics, branches, children, plant growth, sedatives, seeds, semiarid zones, Sicily
Californian poppy (Eschscholtzia californica Cham.) is an annual or perennial herb belonging to the Papaveraceae family. The aerial parts of the plant are claimed to be endowed with gentle and non addictive hypnotic and tranquillising effects, and for this reason they are traditionally used as a sedative hypnotic or analgesic both for adults and children. In order to evaluate the suitability of the species to field cultivation in the Mediterranean semi-arid areas, a two year long experiment was performed in Sicily in 1999 and 2000. The seed of the plant was sown in both years on the first days of December in rows 50 cm apart. During the cultivation the most important morphological and production characteristics were evaluated. It was proven that effective cultivation of the species is possible under the conditions of the experimental area. After the first year a considerable number of plants self-seeded and vigorous growth of these plants was observed on the same plots. Data proved significant effect of the year on the behaviour of the plants, especially on plant height and number of branches. Differences between sown and self-seeded plants were registered evaluating their height, fruit and seeds mass.