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Ravetta, D. and A. Soriano. 1990. Colliguaya integerrima (Euphorbiaceae): A possible new crop for temperate deserts. p. 267. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Colliguaya integerrima (Euphorbiaceae): A Possible New Crop for Temperate Deserts

Damian Ravetta and Alberto Soriano

Patagonia, occupying more than one third of Argentina, has an and cold climate. Large areas have no more than 150 mm of annual precipitation and very short periods without frosts. These conditions make traditional crop production impossible. Wool and meat production by extensive sheep grazing is the only economic option at the present time. The development of crops adapted to these extreme conditions, could give an economic alternative to this and other regions with similar environment constrains.

Colliguaya integerrima Gill. et Hook. ex Hook. (Euphorbiaceae), a native shrub of Patagonia Argentina and Chile, produces seeds with high drying oil content and is being evaluated as a potential new crop for this region.

Natural populations of this species from three different locations in Patagonia, Argentina were studied in order to assess seed production, oil content and quality of different type of seeds. Plants producing 400 g of seeds were not difficult to find. Proximate analysis of the seed is: 35% oil, 40% chaff, and 25% of meal (containing 51% of protein, with a lysine value of 3.17g/16g N2. This meal was not toxic when included in mice diet. Latex production and composition is another potentially useful characteristic of Colliguaya. The adaptation of this species to temperate semi-deserts, together with other features such as seed attachment to the mother plant, the ease with which dormancy can be broken by chilling or storage, and the possibility of asexual propagation by rhizome cuttings, increase the interest and possibilities of domestication and cultivation of the species.

McDaniel, R.G. 1990. Agave: A new crop for the desert southwest. p. 268. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Agave: A New Crop for the Desert Southwest

Robert G. McDaniel

A number of agave species have been cultivated throughout the world for some time. Notable among these are Agave sisalana, grown in plantations in Africa Asia and Brazil as a source of sisal fiber Agave fourcroydes, grown in Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, providing henequen fiber; Agave tequilana in Mexico for tequila liquor, and various species for production of hecogenin and smilagenin, pharmaceutical steroidal sapogenins.

Several multi-hectare agave plantations have been established in Southern Arizona since 1980 to evaluate growth potential of both native and introduced agave species under desert conditions. This is the first extensive evaluation of agave as a row crop in the United States. With one or two supplemental irrigations at the Marana Agricultural Center, several agave species achieved biomass accumulations greater than 100 kg over a three-year growth period. Infra-red thermal measurements indicated that all species showed CAM metabolism under periods of high temperature stress (in excess of 40°C) with adapted desert species responding more quickly to irrigation than introduced tropical species. Root and crown tissues of A. americana, the fastest growing species tested, contained 50% carbohydrate on a dry weight basis, which would qualify them as a viable botanical ethanol source. HPLC analyses of steroid content of these species are underway, as are fiber analyses. In summary, these data support agave as a potential multi-use crop for the and Southwest. Ability to grow with less than 30 cm rainfall per year makes agave a low input crop adaptable to large areas of this region presently not under cultivation.

Glumac, E. and J. Cowles. 1990. Chinese tallow: Multipurpose tree crop. p. 268. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Advances in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Chinese Tallow: Multipurpose Tree Crop

Edward Glumac and Joe Cowles

The Chinese tallow tree, a naturalized species that thrives and proliferates in the heavy clay soils of the Gulf coastal region, could be exploited economically if harvesting techniques and markets are established. Rapid, pest free growth of 10 t/ha-yr of dry wood make it suitable for energy cropping under a short-rotation coppicing system. The tallow tree bears seed after 3 years with yields of up to 12 t/ha-yr from mature wild trees. The seeds contain a saturated solid fat, or tallow, on the outside and an unsaturated liquid inside the kernel. Commercial and industrial raw materials obtainable from the seed are fuel oil drying oil, surfactants, soaps, emulsifiers, cocoa butter, seed meal, confections, detergents, and bioactive extracts. Other economic benefits are as a forage crop for honey production, firewood, soil reclamation, and ornamental planting.
Last update March 6, 1997 by aw