Cultivation in Europe: Agrotechnical Research of Echinacea

Germany

Research on Echinacea in Freising focused on the detailed cultivation technology of E. purpurea and E. angustifolia. The first basic production technology for these two species was published by Bomme in 1986. Fertilization studies were completed by Bomme-Wurzinger (1990), and Bomme-Nast (1998). Between 1986 and 1988, 10 E. purpurea cultivars were compared. In 1999, one paper was published dealing with the seed treatments of three Echinacea species, and focused on direct drilling in the field.

Another research team led by Franke has been working on the technology for growing E. pallida since 1993. E. pallida was also the object of the third research team in Thyringia, where the main agronomic elements have been studied.

Switzerland

To meet the demand for industrial raw material, agronomic research started in the first half of the 1980s. Seed biology and basic agronomic procedures were studied by Smith-Jochum and Albrecht. The studies focused on all three species. Optimization of the harvest in conjunction with the growth and plant phenology was studied by Heinzer et al. (1988). Identification of the three species, seed biology, and seed chemical profiles were reported by Schulthess et al. (1991).

Italy

Field experiments and cultivation started in northern Italy in the 1980s. The first results of fertilization on E. angustifolia were published by Tessari (1987), and on E. pallida by Bezzi and Tessari (1989). The commercial cultivation of E. pallida started on the ABOCA Herb Farm (7 ha) and resulted in the beginnings of the selection process. Germination problems, which occurred in practical cultivation, led to detailed investigations of E. angustifolia (). Recently, detailed agronomic studies have been carried out with three Echinacea species.

Austria

Although no specific cultivation studies were carried out in Austria, Echinacea species have been cultivated in the Landes-Versuchsanlange fur Spezialkulturen in Wies. The latest handbook of medicinal herb cultivation, including Echinacea, which summarizes research in Europe, was published by Austrian experts.

Slovenia

From 1970 to 1980, some agronomic research began in collaboration with Italian and German experts. Rode (1996) studied the climatic suitability for Echinacea cultivation in Slovenia. Data on commercial cultivation areas are not available.

Romania

The first article on cultivating Echinacea was published in a herb cultivation handbook. Systematic acclimatization studies were carried out in Romania by a research team led by Muntean at the University of Cluj-Napoca. Agrobiological and agrotechnical experiments were carried out on E. pallida and E. purpurea from 1988 through 1991. Recently, phytochemical investigations have been reported on E. purpurea ().

Poland

From 1990 through 2000, long-term and detailed experiments were carried out at the Medicinal Plant Research Institute, Poznan, and at several universities to improve the technology for growing Echinacea in Poland. Early research focused mainly on E. purpurea, and then more recently on E. pallida ().

On the basis of these experiments, a treatise on complex cultivation technology was published concerning its practical production (Mordalski et al., 1994). In Poland, Echinacea products have been produced for the domestic medicinal market and for export.

Slovakia, Czech Republic

Introductory and technological studies carried out in Slovakia were directed toward commercial cultivation of Echinacea. The studies focused on production technologies and the mechanization for commercial cultivation of the main three Echinacea species. More recent studies were reported in the Czech Republic concerning N-fertilization.

Hungary

No specific research has been published in Hungary on any of the Echinacea species. The latest herb cultivation handbook includes detailed agrotechnical instructions on field cultivation methods of the three main species in Hungary.

Bulgaria, Lithuania

In Bulgaria, a general description of E. purpurea was published by Evstatieva and Protich (1993). In Lithuania, biological observations and basic growing experiments have been carried out in Kaunas Botanical Garden since 1960. Biomass production, quantity, seed production, and quality of Echinacea have also been studied.

Ukraine, Russia

E. purpurea was introduced into these areas at the end of the 20th century. The flowering biology of this species was studied by Porada and Rabinovich (1991). Mensova et al. (1987) studied the honey production of large-scale red coneflower plantations. The evaluation of E. purpurea as a possible medicinal plant was carried out by Porada (1992). Studies on seed biology have been reported recently.

Finland

The first agrobiological observations and climatic suitability of E. purpurea to the shorter and cooler Nordic growing periods were reported by Galambosi and Szebeni-Galambosi (1992). After winter tolerance observations were assessed, suitable organic growing methods were developed and submitted to the growers.

Norway

Based on Finnish data, Dragland et al. (1993), carried out agrobiological experiments in 1994 through 1997, aimed at introducing E. purpurea in Norway. These results, together with the Finnish observations were submitted to growers in Norway.

Denmark

General cultural information published by Christensen et al. (2000) on the three Echinacea species was submitted to Danish growers.

Scotland

On the basis of grower interests in supplying raw material to local industrial companies, agrotechnical investigations commenced in South Scotland.

Bertalan Galambosi “Cultivation in Europe” (2004)