Tamil Nadu

“Jasmine growers need to be alert to flower discolouration”

Discoloured jasmine flowers in a field at Padmanabamangalam in Srivaikuntam taluk in Tuticorin district.  

Jasmine growers have to be more alert and adopt suitable methods to avoid discolouration of the flower. The fragrant flower is cultivated by small farmers in limited area and its cultivation is affected by insects and pests. The bud, when exposed to toxic substances, gets easily affected, according to T. Abdul Razak, Entomologist, Agricultural College and Research Institute, Killikulam.

Talking to The Hindu here recently, he said that jasmine buds were affected by the larvae of blossom midge Contarinia maculipennis. This insect would feed the inside of buds causing discolouration and the affected buds would finally dry up and fall.

The change of colour of buds to purple was due to the toxic saliva of the larvae. Normally, in a single flower bud, there would be more than five larvae feeding inside.

After attaining full maturity in five to seven days, the maggots would come out of the flower buds and drop down to the soil for pupation. In the subsequent stage, the adult flies would emerge from soil after a period of 12-15 days and the females would lay eggs on the tip of the flower buds. Within 24 hours, larvae would come out of the eggs and start feeding inside the flower buds.

Dr. Razak said that the farmers used costly and toxic chemical insecticides, often failing to control the pest. Hence, they were advised to collect and destroy fallen and discoloured flower buds, make use of light traps to attract adult flies and to rake up the soil well to expose the pupae to the sun.

The chemical insecticides such as monocrotophos or profenophos should be sprayed to avoid the problem of discolouration, he insisted.

He said that Tamil Nadu ranked first in the production of this fragrant flower and the major districts producing jasmine were Tirunelveli, Madurai, Erode, Krishnagiri and Dindigul.

The flowers harvested in Tamil Nadu were also exported to countries such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East, Dr. Razak added.


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Printable version | Sep 9, 2021 4:30:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/jasmine-growers-need-to-be-alert-to-flower-discolouration/article7868051.ece

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