The agronomic performance of five varieties of Artemisia annua was assessed in the humid tropics of Ghana at the Agriculture Research Station, Anwomaso during the 2008 major growing season. The experiment also examined the effects of variation in the stage of harvest on the plant growth traits and yield. The randomized complete block design was used with five A. annua varieties (New hybrid, RC 131, RC 32, UC 2005 and W1) as treatments in three replications. The parameters used for the assessment were plant height, plant canopy spread, stem width, number of branches per plant, fresh and dry leaf yield (kg/ha), crude extract weight (g), artemisinin content (%) and artemisinin yield (kg/ha). All the five varieties of A. annua were performed well in comparison with data from other studies. RC 131 recorded the highest vegetative growth among the varieties while RC 32 recorded the lowest values for all the morphological parameters. New hybrid produced the highest artemisinin yield and content at pre-flowering. The highest artemisinin yield at full bloom was recorded by WI. The results showed considerable increase in artemisinin content at full bloom compared to values recorded at pre-flowering. The results showed that the artemisinin yield was positively correlated with leaf yield and stage of harvest. Based on the leaf yield performance, the order of preference recommended for artemisinin production amongst the varieties in the study area is: RC 131, New hybrid, RC 32, W1 and UC 2005.
Key words: Medicinal plants, Artemisia annua L., asteracea, artemisinin.
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