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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Lyle Craker

Second Advisor

Masoud Hashemi

Third Advisor

Mike Sutherland

Subject Categories



Demand for Chinese medicinal herbs in the U.S. is increasing and American acupuncturists and farmers are interested in domestic production of these plants. Little is known about the feasibility of production of these species outside of China. Four species of herbs were selected for cultivation trials. The purposes of this research were to evaluate the feasibility of cultivation of these species in the northeastern United States, to develop basic agronomic data for each species, and to determine the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on plant growth, yield, and secondary metabolites. Agastache rugosa, Schizonepeta tenuifolia, Leonurus japonicus, and Leonurus sibiricus were grown in a randomized complete block design with 0, 100, or 200 kg/ha of nitrogen (N). At 100 kg/ha of N, a significant increase in yield of all species was observed as compared to the 0 kg/ha control. Yields of A. rugosa and both Leonurus species increased significantly again at 200 kg/ha of N as compared to 100 kg/ha, while the increase in yield between these two levels was slight for S. tenuifolia. Amendment with 100 or 200 kg/ha of N significantly increased concentration of the alkaloid leonurine in Leonurus plant material as compared to the untreated control. L. sibiricus had higher concentrations of leonurine at all levels of treatment than L. heterophyllus. At 200 kg/ha of N, L. sibiricus had leonurine levels that were similar to commercial samples produced in China. No significant effects of N on essential oil content of A. rugosa or S. tenuifolia were observed. Drying temperature significantly affected the quantity of essential oil in A. rugosa or S. tenuifolia, with significant losses of essential oil occurring at 60 and 71 ºC and retention of essential oil occurring at 38 and 49 ºC. This study demonstrated that the selected species may be produced in the northeastern United States and that amendment with N has a positive effect on plant yields and in some cases on the active compounds in the dried plant material.


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