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Abstract Detail

Economic Botany Section

Chakraborty, Sonhita [1], Van Acker, Rene [1], Todd, Jim [2], Loucks, Cora [1].

Assessing the cropping and weediness potential in southern Ontario of two potentially new oilseed species: Euphorbia lagascae and Centrapalus pauciflorus.

There is a growing interest in plastic and plasticizer industries to switch from non-renewable fossil fuel based sources to more renewable alternatives of vernolic acid. Oils derived from fossil fuel and other vegetable based sources need to be chemically modified through ‘epoxidation’ to produce the industrialized epoxidized ester. The shift to vernolic acid naturally derived from the seeds of Euphorbia lagascae and Centrapalus pauciflorus is more sustainable as the vernolic oil is less viscous and volatile, hence releasing fewer pollutants into the environment. Vernolic oil also does not need to undergo expensive chemical epoxidation. The purpose of this study was to explore the potential of farming these species in Ontario, while utilizing agronomic practices that maximize oil yield. In the summer of 2014, field trials were conducted in Simcoe and Guelph, Ontario, to examine the phenology and plant biology (height, days to germination, days to flowering, days to 50% flowering) of both species. The trials were also meant to identify agronomic practices (such as seeding date, experimental site, breeding line) required to produce early germinating and early flowering varieties of E. lagascae and C. pauciflorus, that are suitable for Canadian cultivation. Differences between site and seeding date in terms of biomass productivity, seed yield, 1000 seed weight and phenology of the two species will be presented. Knowledge of the potential weediness of either of these species is also limited. To understand the ability of these species to establish themselves under different environments, studies were set up in spring 2014 and fall 2014, where seeds of E. lagascae and C. pauciflorus were dispersed over one of three simulated environments: seedbed, mowed grass and undisturbed swards of grass. In spring 2014, C. pauciflorus established at significantly higher rates in seedbeds than E. lagascae. No significant difference was observed in non-cultivated plots (mowed or unmowed swards of grass) for either species. Establishment was more variable and at much reduced numbers in fall 2014. These results suggest that both species may have some potential as volunteers and to compete as weeds. The ability of these species to persist through the winter and leave seedbanks, as well as interfere with other species is also being examined. This research will provide data on the performance of E. lagascae and C. pauciflorus in Ontario conditions, to guide production approaches and help assess the potential weediness of these species.

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1 - University of Guelph, Department of Plant Agriculture, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada
2 - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs, Simcoe, ON, N3Y 4N5, Canada

weed biology
Centrapalus pauciflorus
Euphorbia lagascae.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 4
Location: Salon 2/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 4006
Abstract ID:816
Candidate for Awards:Economic Botany Section best student paper

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