Physiological studies and determination of chromosome number in maca, Lepidium meyenii (Brassicaceae) uri icon

abstract

  • Experiments based on four accessions of maa (Lepdium meyenii) disclosed higher developmental rates in plants grown in neutral pH (6.6) soil when compared with those grown in acidic soil (5.3). Photoperiod response studies revealed similar growth rate for plants grown under either long day or short day condition. Plants in the field and growth chambers completed their life cycle in 11 months or less, therefore maca can be considered an annual crop. These results suggest that the range of adaptation of maca is not as narrow as previously believed, and therefore it can be successfully produced outside its natural habitat. Chromosome counts and predominance of bivalents in diakinesis and metaphase I disclosed that maca is a disomic octoploid of 2n=8x=64 chromosomes. Field and growth chamber observations and morphological uniformity of the plants within accessions indicate that maca relies mainly on self-fertilization for its reproduction.

publication date

  • 1996
  • 1996