Morphological characterization and response of red flower rag leaf (Crassocephalum crepidioides Benth S. Moore) to organic and inorganic fertilizers and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus
Red flower rag leaf (Crassocephalum crepidioides) is one of the underutilized vegetables consumed globally. Pot trials were conducted to characterize 15 morphologically distinct accessions of C. crepidioides and assess the effects of treatment combinations of eggshell, NPK 15:15:15, poultry manure and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus
(Glomus mosseae) as soil amendments on growth and yield-related characters of C. crepidioides. Thereafter, 48 seedlings of the best performing accession were transplanted into perforated polythene bags filled with 7 kg of heat-sterilized soil. The experiment was laid out in a completely randomized design with three replicates. Treatment combinations were incorporated into in the polythene bags 1 week after transplanting, while control plants received no amendments. The results showed that accession NH/GKB-15 had the highest plant height (29.83 cm), stem length (27.67 cm), number of leaves (15) and length of internode at node 3 (1.13 cm) and node 4 (1.17 cm). The growth and yield characters of this best performing accession (NH/GKB-15) in response to soil amendments showed that poultry manure produced the tallest plants (55.17 cm), longest and widest stems (48.35 and 0.66 cm), longest and widest leaves (16.39 and 6.26 cm, respectively), and higher number of inflorescence (2.13). With NPK 15:15:15 the seedlings did not survive. Poultry manure should therefore be utilized for better plant nutrition and faster growth of C. crepidioides seedlings as well as for safer consumption of the leafy vegetable.