Plukenetia volubilis, commonly known as Sacha Inchi, is an oilseed woody vine originated from Amazonian tropical rain forest and belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family. Its seeds are used as natural food, medicine and in the cosmetic industry, which increased its economic importance worldwide.
In tropical forests, P. volubilis regenerates in the shade of an overstory canopy, but for commercial production, it is normally cultivated on cleared land devoid of overhead shade. To check whether shade influences its phenology and yield, Dr. Cai Zhiquan of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) monitored over a long-term period (8 months) with reference to a light gradient and investigated variation in the flowering phenology of P. volubilis and related the results to growth, fruit yield and photosynthetic traits.
The study found that P. volubilis plants grown in high light exhibited better growth compared with plants grown in the shade, which mainly attributed to its superior physiological performance (photosynthetic rates). Long-term exposure to shade delayed inhibition of flowering and reduced biomass (or numbers) of flower and fruit parts.
The light-demanding and rapid-growth characteristics of P. volubilis, and its high yield in high light suggested that a clear-cutting or a close-to-open canopy silvicultural system would be a practical alternative for the management of this species in commercial production.
The research entitled “Shade delayed flowering and decreased photosynthesis, growth and yield of Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) plants” has been published inIndustrial Crops and Products, 34 (1): 1235-1237. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2011.03.021