Asparagus racehorses, commonly known as Shatavari at belongs to the family Liliaceous. It is an extensively branched climber and can grow even up to l0 m high having succulent, tuberous, fasciculate roots arising in a large bunch, is to 30 cm long and 1 to 2 cm thick. The stem is woody cladodes are 0.6 to 1.2 cm long, linear, spines are Stout Straight densely crowded. Flowers are small, white mildly fragrant, 3 to 4 mm across in solitary or fascicled simple or branched copious raciness. Fruits up to 6 mm in diameter, globose, often obscurely 3 lobed, with only one seed.
It is distributed throughout tropical Asia, Africa, Sri-Lanka, Australia, and Indonesia. In India, it is found up to an altitude of 1,2000 cm in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. Its allied species, i.e. Asparagus ascendances is found growing sporadically in different states.
Shatavari has been introduced on the farmer’s farm and is performing well. It prefers tropical or sub-tropical climate and grows successfully in sandy loame soil with good organic matter and a proper drainage system. It is biannual when cultivated otherwise perennial.
My flowering and fruiting take place from August to January. It is a self too often cross-pollinates coop. It is propagated both by seeds and root tubers.
* Nursery and Plantation Technology :
For Commercial cultivation, root tubers are preferred over seeds. Nearly 25,000 to 26,000 tuber fingers with crown intact are required for one hectare of land and are planted during March and April before sprouting.
If raised through seeds, there are sown in the nursery in the month of May to June. A seed rate of 1.5 to 2.0 kg is required for one hectare of land. Germination starts after 20 to 25 days of sowing well rotten FYM should be applied at the rate of 25 to 30 + /ha at the time of land preparation when the seedlings are 8 to l0 cm long they are transplanted in 60 cm spaced rows, 60 cm apart in the well-prepared field.
Finger-like tubers are planted in polybags during March and April with soil, sand, and FYM in the ratio of 1:1:1. There are transplanted first before the onset of monsoon in pits filled with soil, sand, and cow dung (2:1:1). The field is should be irrigated immediately after transplantation. The crop being a climber requires support for its proper growth for this purpose; 1.5 to 3.0 cm long stakes are used to support the general growth.
Frequent weeding is required during its early period of growth for satisfactory development of roots, timely weeding is necessary.
* Harvesting and Post Harvest management:
The crop is harvested after 18 months in the months of Nov. and December. Freshly dug-out roots are to be washed with water to remove ah adhering soil particles. The root bark and Pith are removed manually. Thereafter, their roots should be treated with 0.25 percent potassium metabisulphite Soln for five minutes.
After drying, whitish roots of the best quality can be obtained, which have high appeal in the magnet… Roots without any treatment remain light yellow to light brown in color. After drying, the roots should be packed in airtight containers in different grades. An average field of 140 to 150 g/ha of fresh roots or 14 to 150 gl/ ha of day roots can be obtained on an average depending on the quality, the roots fetch Rs. 150 to 300 /kg. An income of Rs. 2.0 to 2.25 1c/ha can be earned from 18 months crop of Asparagus.
Plant Protection :
No serious pests and diseases have noticed in this coop.
Utilization and Economics Importance:
The root powder contains moisture (19.42 %) ether extract (3.19 %) proteins (2.95%) Sopron’s (5.44%) and steroidal spanning (Shatavari I to IV) Shatavarin-I is the main active principle leaves contain diosgenin.
The root is largely used in the preparation of medicated oils, prescribed for nervous and rheumatic complaints. It is said to be tonic and diuretic and is useful in seminal declivity, impotency, general weakness, and acidity high blood pressure, and use as a galactagogue. A mixture of honey and fresh root juice is given as a demulcent in dyspepsia. It is estimated that in India, more than Soot of Shatavari roots are needed every year for various medicinal preparations.
Dr. Yogesh Y. Sumthane, Ph. D. (F.P.U.) M.B.A., D.M. & F. HOD, Bamboo Research & Training Centre, Chandrapur