Articles

Croton plant

 Croton plant

Codiaeum variegatum

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Introduction:

                                    Croton has glossy, leathery leaves that are very variable in shape, highly colored and variegated.  The leaves can be ovate or linear and variegated with pink, orange, green, brown, yellow and white.

Croton is an exotic looking plant that is grown in warm greenhouses or conservatory or as a indoor plant.

It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and the western Pacific Ocean islands, and growing in open forests and scrub.

Botanical:

                          It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3 m (9.8 ft) tall and has large, thick, leathery, shiny evergreen leaves, alternately arranged, 5–30 cm long and 0.5–8 cm broad. The inflorescence are long racemes 8–30 cm  long, with male and female flowers on separate inflorescences;   the male flowers are white with five small petals and 20–30 stamens, the female flowers yellowish, with no petals.

The fruit is a capsule around 1 cm diameter, containing three 6 mm seeds. The stems contain milky sap that bleeds from cut stems.

Cultivation:

                        In tropical climates, crotons make attractive hedges and potted patio specimens, valued for their striking foliage. They only survive outdoors where temperatures do not normally drop below 10° to 13°C in winter; colder temperatures can cause leaf loss.In colder climates, the plants are grown in greenhouses or as house plants.

The cultivated garden crotons are usually smaller than the wild plant, rarely over 1.8 m tall, and come in a wide diversity of leaf shapes and colours.

Varieties:

                             For a plant with this incredible diversity, it’s amazing there is only species (C. variegatum). 

Crotons are often subdivided by their leaf type: curling, twisted, oak leaf, narrow, broad, oval, etc.

Also, sometimes different plants grouped under the name  Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum (Lodd.) Müll. Arg., though this is not botanically distinct from the species and usually treated as a synonym of it.

For that, there are several hundred of croton cultivars, selected and bred for their foliage. Depending on the cultivar, the leaves may be ovate to linear, entire to deeply lobed or crinkled, and variegated with green, white, purple, orange, yellow, red or pink.

There are different varieties like Dreadlocks, Ann Rutherford, Mona Lisa, and Irene Kingsley.

Propagation:

                            Crotons are easily propagated through stem cutting. Preferable usage  rooting hormone to increase the odds of success.

Crotons sometimes produce “sprouts,” or shoots that are completely different from the parent plant. These can be potted up independently.

Seeds used only in breeding program for scientific purposes,

                       Only cuttings will produce a plant that is identical to the parent.

Toxicity:

                          As with many of the Euphorbiaceae, the sap can cause skin eczema in some people. The bark, roots, latex, and leaves are poisonous, containing the toxin called 5-deoxyingenol, also, the latex has caused eczema in some gardeners after repeated exposure.

The plant contains an oil which is violently purgative and is suspected of being a carcinogen. Consumption of the seeds can be fatal to children.

         Chewing the bark and roots may be cause burning of the mouth. 

Dr. Waleed Abobatta

Lucuma Tree

Lucuma Tree
Pouteria lucuma,

Family: Sapotaceae

A fruit tree of the Andes, in Ecuador, the tree is called lugma, from other side,it’s called lucuma in Chile, The native habitat of this tree is the high Andean valleys of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador.

It has been used  by the Incas for at least 2,000 years, p.d., and still is not practically known in the rest of the world.

Tree:

                  Lucuma is a handsome tree, small to moderately tall, with slightly leathery leaves, it sometimes grows as a central leader tree, but more usually it has multiple leaders.

Lucuma  is a subtropical fruit tree of Andean valleys, especially in Peru, also it’s grown in Ecuador, Colombia, north of Chile and Bolivia.

It is being cultivated  in Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. Also there is some trials to planting in Florida and California .

Peru is the First producer for the dried pulp market, by  (16,000 metric tonnes of fresh fruit in Peru alone (given 8 tonnes per hectare).

Soil:

              The tree  grow will across a wide range of soil types, including somewhat calcareous or even slightly saline soils, so long as the soil is fairly well drained. the tree need good drain to avoid root rot diseases.

Flowering:

                         Trees flowering in mid winter to spring. The flowers are white  to yellow, and narrowly tubular.  The male anthers are arranged around the ‘mouth’ of the flower ‘tube’. The female style projects from the bud prior to the flower opening, may be they can then pollinate the female part, if it hasn’t already been done.

There are some  author says lucuma trees are self fertile, and “appear to be insect pollinated”, the fruit mature after  8 or 9 months to go from flower pollinating.

“Meanwhile in the Andes it flowers and fruit year round”

Varieties:

                          lucuma tree almost propagation by seeds, for that there are different varieties, for example in Peru, over 100 improved lineages have been identified, either with heavier fruit production, or improved fruit quality.

In Chile La Molina University start deliberate breeding program to get new species with highly production and better fruit quality, now there are ‘San Antonio’, ‘Merced’, and ‘Vergata’ varieties are known as Chilean cultivars .

In New Zealand there is only one cultivar  ‘La Molina’, which was at one time available from a nursery, it is a Peruvian cultivar, the fruit have soft flesh , with orange flesh.

 


Dr. Waleed Abobatta

A. R. C.

Buddha Hands Fruit

Buddha Hands Fruit

Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus

This lemon like citron (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus) is not usually eaten fresh, (although the rind may be candied and is sometimes used for zest), but it’s fragrant and said to have some medical qualities. It is said that the fragrance of a single fruit can perfume a room for weeks.

The Origin:

                                    The origin of this kind of citron is commonly traced back to the Far East, probably northeastern  India  or China, where most domesticated citrus fruits originate.

Description:

                   Buddha’s Hands { Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis } one of citrus kinds, like any other citrus variety, it is a  small tree or shrub  with long, irregular branches covered in thorns, the leaves are large grow up to 15 cm, oblong pale, green, Its white flowers grow in fragrant clusters and tinted purplish from the outside, the fruit contain only the white part of the fruit and sometimes a small amount of acidic pulp, but many varieties  are completely juice-less and some are seedless.

The fruit is segmented into finger-like sections, resembling a human hand, but the different cultivars and variations of this citron variety form a gradient from “open-hand” types with outward-splayed segments to “closed-hand” types, in which the fingers are kept together, also, there are half-fingered fruits, in which the basal side is united and the apical side fingered.

Propagation:

                            Trees can be grown from cuttings taken from branches two to four years old, it is very commonly grafted onto sufficient rootstock.

Climate:

               As most kind of citrus, the plant is sensitive to frost, as well as intense heat and drought, It grows best in a temperate climate.

Traditionally, the fruit was prized by the Chinese for its resemblance to a hand with the fingers outstretched. The buddha’s-hand citron was a popular plant motif in the art of the Ming dynasty. Besides its association with the Buddha the plant suggested wealth because of its resemblance to an outstretched hand. It remains popular at New Year’s and is said to bestow good fortune.

Dr. Waleed Abobatta

2017-01-18

Magnetic Agriculture

Magnetic agriculture used to reduce water or soil salinity  problems, they proposed an auxin-like effect of the Magnetic Field on germinating seeds, also, irrigation with magnetically treated water or/and magnetic seed treatment are friendly environmental techniques.

Therefore, they take an important place in the list of  environmental clean methods and harmless technology.

 

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Pineberries

White strawberry

“Pineberry”

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Introduction:

                             The pineberry is a hybrid strawberry cultivar with a pineapple-like flavor, white flesh coloring, and red seeds.

Pineberries are actually the oldest strawberry variety.  Originally strawberries were white in South America (Fragaria chiloensis) and red in North America (Fragariea virginiana).

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In 2010 the pineberry was introduced on April 1st in the UK. Many media thought it was an April fools’ joke and believed the pineberry did not exist. However when it turned out the introduction of the pineberry was for real, this special strawberry got a lot of media attention.

pineberry Fruits

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Interantional PULSES Year 2016

International Year of Pulses (IYP).

        On December 21st 2013, the General Secretary of the United Nations in New York voted to proclaim the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP).

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           An International Year designation provides an extraordinary opportunity to raise awareness and to celebrate the role of  pulses in feeding the world.

          United Nations, led by its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to raise awareness about the protein power and health benefits of all kinds of Pulses, boost their production and trade, and encourage new and smarter uses throughout the food chain.

           Even more prominently, it will be a galvanizing moment to draw together key actors to further the contributions pulses make to health, nutrition, and sustainability.

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            What’s the Pulses?

           Pulses, or grain legumes, are any DRY edible seed in the family of legumes (Fabiaceae), include 12 crops such as dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils, which are high in protein, fiber, and micro-nutrients.

Pulses Varities

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             pulses, are not simply cheap and delicious; they are also highly nutritious source of protein and vital micro nutrients that can greatly benefit people’s health and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries.

           Pulses present many opportunities for decreasing the environmental footprint of food production, especially by fixing nitrogen to progress soil quality.

Moreover, enhancements in pulse productivity could be especially impact in the increasing world.

           Pulses are important food crops for the food security of large proportions of populations,  particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia,  where pulses are part of traditional diets and often grown by small farmers.

          There’s  a short video  describe pulses important and  highlighting unique opportunities for pulses to contribute to the future of food security.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8YX7uar65w

 

             Pulses can contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health.

The water efficiency of pulses allows the plants to enrich soil where they grow and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

Nutritional values of Pulses:

  • Just one portion of chickpeas contains 1.5 times as much iron as a 3-ounce portion of steak, and pulses are a division of the cost of other protein sources.

  • pulses have double the proteins found in wheat and triple the amount found in rice.

  • They are also rich in micro_nutrients, amino acids and b-vitamins.

           Pulses are vital food crops for the food security of large extent of populations, Particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia, where pulses are part of traditional diets and often grown by small farmers. Furthermore, improvements in pulse productivity could be  impact in the developing world.

           Pulses can contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health.

Environment Benefits of Pulses:

1- Pulses offer many opportunities for reducing the environmental footprint of food production.

2- Pulses fixing nitrogen  which increase soil fertility and improve soil quality.

3- Pulses use less quantity of water, just 43 gallons of water can produce one pound of pulses.

4-production of pulses emits only 5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with beef production.

International Pulses  trade:

                                                                      World production from pulses reach to 60 MT per year, but there’s only 6 million’s  MT  available for trading. meanwhile, The Middle East , North Africa and Southeast  Asia’s regions are biggest producer , consumer and importer of pulses, ( import around MT per annum).

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    “Much work requires to be done to end hunger and afford food security and nutrition for all”

Improvement Citrus Production Under Salinity Conditions ” Introduction”

Citrus is suggested to be one of the most important fruit crops all over the world, especially in warm temperate regions, occupied the third position between fruit crops in the world after grapes and apples.

Moreover, Egypt ranks as the 8th among the world top 10 producers of citrus (FAO, 2013).

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                      Citrus Orchards

The citrus is a major fruit crop cultivated in Egypt as its acreage, production and exportation potentialities are concerned.

It is the largest horticultural industry, also, citrus cultivated area increased rapidly from year to year during the last few years, reached 530415 feddan in 2014 from the total fruit crop area, which estimated to be 1541781 feddans, the fruiting acreage of citrus occupies 440706 feddan produced 4402180 tons with average of 9.989 tons/ fed. (Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation2014).

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Salhia  Region- Egypt

Extension of the cultivated area is due to:

I) fit environmental conditions.

II) increasing demands of local consumption.

 III) its highly economic value as a main source for exportation to the European countries and the Gulf countries, which is expected to boom in the future, such extension in area encourage establishing more studies towards finding out an appropriate management for improving the production and fruit quality.

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             Salinity of soil and irrigation water and drought conditions are considered to be serious and major problems that face citrus growers in arid and semiarid areas and citrus trees are classified as salt-sensitive.

            In Egypt, the newly reclaimed regions, whereas, alkaline soils and salinity water  reduced citrus production.

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            Effects of  Salinity on growth of trees

                Citrus growers apply natural materials (natural organic fertilizer forms like animal manures or seed meals, Humic Compound, Magnetic Iron ) for perceived or real improvements in soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, but the main benefit appears to be increases nutrient availability, to reduce salinity  hazard on trees growth and productivity.

 

 

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The World Soil Day

The World Soil Day

‘Soils a solid ground for life’

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 Introduction:

The World Soil Day Soil is vital for farming and food security. Soil deserved some respect, unfortunately often, most people  treated with soil  like dirt.

What’s the Soil?

Soil is made up of organic remains, clay and rock particles, found on the Earth’s surface. It contributes to food, reduces biodiversity loss, and secures energy.

Problems like deforestation, bad agricultural practices and pollution causes soil degradation and erosion.

The UN saw a need to raise awareness about the dangers of soil loss, so it made World Soil Day and official day. It was first celebrated on December 5, 2012, which corresponded with the birthday of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who officially sanctioned the event.

Soils have been neglected for too long. We fail to connect soil with our food, water, climate, biodiversity and life. We must invert this tendency and take up some preserving and restoring actions.

Aim of the World Soil Day

The World Soil Day campaign aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance in our lives.

To raise awareness of the importance of soil and the need to use it sustainably, the United Nations has declared 2015 as International Year of Soils.

What We Do?

Thousands of soil scientists and organizations, like the International Union of Soil Sciences, promote the day via social media, YouTube videos, and local events to talk about issues such as soil erosion and preserving soil.

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Benefits of soil

Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fiber production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being.

It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity.

Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts.

The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met.

Understandably, it’s easy to take soil for granted because it’s mostly hidden from view and few who live off the farm have reason to give it a second thought.

Yet this amazing resource is responsible for nearly all life on the planet.

According to the FAO, the demands of a growing population for food, feed and fiber from the world’s soil will increase 60 per cent by 2050

Soil important

Soil very important as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigation of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Fortunately, scientists, conservationists and farmers are increasingly recognizing that keeping our soil healthy and functioning is the key to our survival

It is celebrated particularly by the global community of 60 000 soil scientists charged with responsibility of generating and communicating soil knowledge for the common good.

 Requirements for soil enhancement

we must working directly with private landowners to improve the health of the soil on different  lands. And by improving the health of the soil, we are also improving the health and vitality of our farms, families and communities.

This renewed focus on the health of our soil has created an exciting new revolution in different places in the world,  as farmers, ranchers and other landowners are increasingly making their land more productive and sustainable through soil health management systems.

Although all farming operations are different, most all can benefit from keeping the soil covered as much as possible; disturbing the soil as little as possible; keeping plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and diversifying plants as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

Conclusion

By improving soil health, the agricultural producers can harvest benefits on and off the farm including increasing farmland sustainability and resilience; improving water and air quality; providing wildlife habitat; and reducing flooding.

World Soil Day serve as a reminder to all of us that we owe our existence to the soil”

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