N’Danikou, S.; Houdegbe, A.C.; Tchokponhoue, D.A.; Agossou, A.O.C.; Assogba Komlan, F.; Vodouhe, R.S.; Ahanchede, A.; Achigan-Dako, E.G. Initial Plant Vigor and Short Rotation Coppices Improve Vegetable Production in Vitex doniana Sweet (Lamiaceae). Plants 2020, 9, 1253.
Vitex doniana is a major but threatened economic plant collected as a leafy vegetable and fruit in West Africa. How the species withstands coppicing as an agricultural management practice was investigated in this research. Three seedling vigor classes (10–25 mm, 25–30 mm, 30–40 mm) and two coppicing heights (20 and 40 cm) were compared to controls in eight replicates using a randomized complete block design. Mixed eect models were used to compare the eects of treatments on sprouting intensitysprout growth, and biomass yield in the short (12 months) and medium term (three and five years). Results indicated that V. doniana is a fast-growing species, with heights between 2.72–7.73 m and diameter at breast height between 4.46–14.64 cm in five years. Vigorous (basal diameter > 30 mm) and shorter coppices (20 cm high) produced a higher number of sprouts. Although biomass yield was relatively higher on high coppices, the dierence was not statistically significant. While a more severe harvesting regime was detrimental to plant growth, V. doniana can be managed to produce both vegetables and fuel wood in the medium term. These findings are significant for further improvement of the species, for food security, and climate resilience.
Keywords: traditional vegetables; underutilized species; pruning; domestication; black plum