Cultivation Methods and Germination Techniques of Atropa Belladonna

English name: Deadly night shade, devils cherry

It’s a native of Southern and central Europe and naturalized in South England. It is also found in Western Himalayas.

Parts Used
Root and leaves.
Atropines, alkaloid are extracted from the plant.

Uses
Belladonna is a valuable antidote in poisoning by opium, muscarine etc. Extract of belladonna is used as external application to relive pain.

Cultivation Methods

Soil 
Belladonna grows well in slightly acid soil. Heavy clay soil which is water logged should be avoided.

Climate
Belladonna can be grown as winter crop.

Propagation
The crop is propagated through seeds. Seeds may be treated with 80% sulphuric acid at time of sowing for two minutes. About 4 kg of seed is needed for one hector of land. Belladonna has been cultivated by direct sowing, but raising them in nursery gives best results. The seeds after planting should be covered with straw and watered daily. It germinates within 3 weeks. It can be planted after 8 to 12 week to the main field. The best time for planting in the field is before spring – March and April. As it has a high water requirement the plant should be watered during the dry period in every 4 days.

Harvesting
When the plants are three month old after planting, the leaves are available the first yield. The yield of leaves increase after the first cutting. The harvesting should be done as soon as the shoots starts flowering.

Drying
It can be dried in shade or sun, but take care to see that the dried leaves remain green. The woody stems are removed .The root are harvested after 3 years. After the harvest the root are cleaned and cut into 4 inches long splits.

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