Performance of Vernonia galamensis as a potential and viable industrial oil plant in Eritrea: Yield and oil content-1

  • T Mebrahtu
  • T Gebremariam
  • A Kidane
  • W Araia
Keywords: Vernonia galamensis, germplasm collection, varietal evaluation, oil content, seed yield, Eritrea.


Vernonia galamensis, whose seeds can be used to produce high-demand, environmentally friendly oil, can stimulate the economy of a country like Eritrea. The seed from the plant contains oil rich in epoxy
fatty acids. A potential market use is as a drying agent for resin paints and can form clear, tough, rubbery plastics or coatings on metal. The general objective was to develop vernonia as a viable industrial plant in Eritrea while the specific objectives were to collect, introduce, and characterize wild vernonia accessions and to evaluate and select the best genotypes with higher seed yield and oil content. A total of 61 wild accessions of vernonia were collected from different parts of Eritrea. Some germplasm materials were also added from Ethiopia in 1995 and collections from the United States Department of Agriculture. The materials were collected in its wild form in valleys, riverbanks, plateaus
and hills in many parts of Eritrea. The germplasm was collected, characterized and evaluated. The results of the germplasm collection showed that the mean seed yield (kg/ha), seed size (g/1000 seeds),
total oil (%) and vernolic acid (%) were 873, 3.4, 24, and 62, respectively. The variety trial of vernonia tested has shown that ERV-05 (1127 kg ha–1) and 66 BK-OR-1 (1111 kg ha–1) were the best yielding genotypes. The oil content of ERV-05 was better than 66BK-OR-1. The genotypes with smaller seed size had better oil content. There was a positive and significant correlation between oil content, plant height and days to blooming. Therefore, breeders should select genotypes based on these traits for better oil content. The future challenges of the plant are lack of uniform seed maturity, and to develop
appropriate technologies for mechanical harvesting, seed cleaning and processing and oil extraction.

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eISSN: 1684-5315