2019, VOLUME 6 ISSUE 1Pages: 01-07
Phenotypic plasticity of Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. growing in different habitats of Nepal
Anjana Devkota* and Pramod Kumar Jha
*Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
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The plant growing in range of environmental conditions exhibits phenotypic plasticity that reflects the ability of the plant to allow its establishment in different areas.Centellaasiatica, an important medicinal plant, is widely growing in tropical and subtropical belt of Nepal. We measured phenotypic characters (density, petiole length, stolon length, SLA, leaf number per ramet, plant biomass, flower number) and soil attributes (soil pH, soil nitrogen (N), soil organic carbon (OC), soil organic matter (OM) of 21 C. asiatica populations in three habitats (open grassland, open agricultural land, shady grassland) of Nepal. Ramet density (105 plants m-2) and biomass yield (52.5 g m-2) was found highest in partially shaded grassland with soil having 5.83 pH, 0.20% N, 4.26% OC and 7.38% OM. Leaves had 391 cm2 g-1 SLA, 4.13 cm long petiole and 1.76% N. The three sites differed significantly (p<0.001) in petiole length, SLA, leaf N, soil N, soil OC and soil OM contents. Thus land uses had a significant effect on ramet density and leaf characters of C. asiatica. Phenotypic plasticity in leaf petiole length and number of flowers per inflorescence was observed, which appeared to be governed by light availability and height of associated species. In terms of yield partially shaded grassland was the most suitable natural habitat of C. asiatica. Evaluation of growth traits and yield in a different habitat help to find the suitable condition for growth of the plant in nature. This information is helpful in planning cultivation of C. asiatica.