Package of Practices for Cultivation of Dawana
Dawana (Artemisia pollens Wall ex, DC Family Asteraceae), is a traditional herb in South India, prized for its fruity fragrance. It forms an important component in garlands and bouquets, where springs of davana land an element of freshness and a rich sumptuousness of odour.
The essential oil of davana has not attained wide popularity particularly in India. The oil is a brown viscous liquid with deep mellow, persistent rich fruity odour. USA, Japan and European countries are showing increasing interest for the oil and it is understood that it is being used for flavoring of capes, pastries, tobacco and beverages. It is also used in fine perfumers.
Soil and Climate:
Davana is mostly cultivated in red soil regions in South India. It comes up very well in rich loamy soils.
Season is not an important point when crop is grown for garland purpose. Climatic condition is very important when the crop is grown for the production of oil. In this case, the crop is allowed to grow until it flowers, which lakes about 4 months from sowing. The crop is grown as a short crop from Nov. to Feb/Mar. and as a ratoon crop extending up to April / May. Bright sun shine a crisp winter with no frost, few showers and heavy dew contribute a lot for a good crop. Cloudy weather of rain could substantially affect the oil yield.
Davana is propagated by seeds. Nursery beds, two meter long and one meter wide, are prepared after thoroughly working up the soil 1.0 kg of seeds are sown in a nursery area of 500 sq m, which gives enough seedlings for transplanting of one hectare. The seeds are mixed with about 10 kg of sand and broadcast in two nursery beds, so that approximately three grams of the seed fall over an area of 1 sq. meter. The beds are hand watered twice a day, if necessary, until the seeds germinate and establish well. Seeds sprout in about 3-4 days, aitex sowing. After another 3-4. days, hand watering can be discontinued and the plot can be irrigated equal crops. The seedlings may be given a light foliar spray of urea at weekly intervals from the third, week of sowing. Transplanting, Irrigation and Weeding.
The seedlings reach Transplanting stage about 5 weeks after sowing. They should then be about 10 – 12 cm tall. In the mean while, the field is laid into beds of convenient size, depending upon the local conditions. The beds are irrigated a day prior to transplanting. The seedlings withstand transplanting very well.
Transplanting is done at the spacing of 15 cm between rows and 7.5 cm between plants. The seedlings are hand watered immediately after the transplanting. Subsequently, the beds are irrigated every day for the first 10 days and thereafter as per the requirement. Irrigation should be given to the ratoon crop also. Inter culture operations should also be carried out
Manures and Fertilizers:
Prior to transplanting of the seedlings, 6 tones of farm yard manure, and 250 kg of super phosphate and 65 kg of murate of potash per hectare are incorporated into the soil. Nitrogen @ 75 kg/ha is given in three equal splits, the first dose 10 days after transplanting and the subsequent doses begin at 15 days interval. In ratoon crop, 175 kg urea per hectare is applied in two equal splits.
The plants grow fast after transplanting and the first flower buds appear – by the end of January. The crop should be harvested when a large number of flower buds are open. This state is reached by the end of February or March. Harvesting is done at a height of 10 cm from the ground. Fresh sprouts appear again and give one more crop after about two months.
Davana herbage is dried in shade for 2-3 days and then steam distilled for obtaining the oil.
Oil Content and Yield:
The yield of fresh herbage from the main crop and the ratoon crop is about 12 tones per hectare, which on shade drying and distillation yields about 8-10 kg of davana oil. Approximate maturity of the crop and proper shade drying of the herbage are important factors affecting the quality and oil yield. In large scale distillation an average yield of 0.2 % from a material dried for about 2 days may be considered satisfactory.
Chemical Constituents and Uses:
Davanone, a sesquiterpene ketone, is the main component of the oil of Davana, dehydro – a – linalook, non davanone and davanafurance have been isolated in a fraction of davana oil. These compounds are reported to contribute for the characteristic odour of davana oil.
Davana oil has a deep, mellow, persistent rich fruity odour. Freshly distilled oil has sharp and herbal top notes. This disappears on keeping, leaving a mellow and pleasant note. Oil of davana is used in expensive perfume compositions. It is understood that the oil is also being used for flavoring cakes pastries, tobacco and some of the costly beverages.