Phenological attributes of Pyracantha crenulata - a high-value multipurpose shrub of the Himalaya
Keywords:fruit maturity; Himalayan firethorn; medicinal plants; Western Himalaya; wild edible plants
Pyracantha crenulata is a high value multipurpose shrub of the Himalaya. Fruits of the species possess several therapeutic and nutraceutical properties and are edible. Undertaking phenological studies on high-value wild plant species, particularly the ones that are yet to be domesticated, is particularly important as they provide baseline data on patterns of their vegetative growth, flowering, fruiting, fruit maturity, seed set etc. Considering these facts, the present study was carried out with the aim to identify and document the phenological features of P. crenulata and to study patterns of its phenological events under two habitat conditions. The study was carried out at two closely located sites, different in microsite conditions, at Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand), India, under the Western Himalaya in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) for two consecutive years. Five phenological events (emergence of new leaves and twigs; flowering; fruit setting and development; fruit drop and leaf fall) were recorded at fortnightly intervals, i.e., first fortnight and second fortnight in each month on selected individuals of the species, in both the sites. All the phenological phases investigated followed identical or near identical patterns across both sites so that there were no significant differences (P<0.05) between the sites in terms of phenological events and growth parameters recorded. Being an economically and ecologically valuable species, findings on the patterns of flowering and fruiting of P. crenulata are significant not only for management of its natural populations in the region, but will also serve as a baseline data for studies to be carried out for its domestication in future.
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