Effects of breaking seed tubers on yield components of the tuber crop Plectranthus edulis

Mulugeta Taye, W.J.M. Lommen, P.C. Struik

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Plectranthus edulis is an ancient tuber crop, cultivated in Ethiopia, which produces stem tubers on stolons below the ground; however, agronomic and physiological information on this crop is scarce. Three field experiments were carried out at each of two locations (Awassa and Wondogenet, Ethiopia). Expt 1 dealt with the effects of breaking a seed tuber into different numbers of seed pieces before planting, Expt 2 assessed the effect of the weight of the seed tuber piece and Expt 3 investigated the effect of planting different numbers of seed pieces per planting hole. Cultivar Lofuwa was planted in Awassa, whereas cvar Chankua was planted in Wondogenet. Breaking seed tubers in Expt 1 resulted in more main stems/hill, more tubers and smaller individual tubers. In Wondogenet, the tuber yield also increased. Breaking did not affect the number of stolons/m(2). Expt 2 indicated that when only one seed piece was planted per planting hole, smaller seed pieces gave fewer stems, fewer stolons and fewer tubers/m(2), smaller tubers and lower tuber yields. Expt 3 showed that planting more seed pieces/planting hole gave more stems, more stolons and more tubers/m(2), thus increasing tuber fresh yield/m(2), whereas the mean tuber weight was not consistently affected. Across all experiments, the tuber yield increased when the number of main stems increased up to three main stems/m(2). Higher tuber yields resulting from experimental treatments were either achieved by an effect on number of tubers alone or by combined effects on number of tubers and mean tuber weight, but not by an effect on mean tuber weight alone. The number of small tubers was high in all experiments. Breaking a seed tuber into two or three pieces before planting them in one planting hole consistently resulted in increased numbers of main stems and tuber yield.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-380
JournalThe Journal of Agricultural Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • esculentus nebr. lamiaceae
  • potato solanum
  • size
  • plant
  • stem


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