English name: Immortelle; Latin name: Helichrysum sp.
The genus Helichrysum /hɛlɪˈkraɪsəm/ consists of an estimated 600 species, in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).The most important species in our region are: Helichrysum arenarium – eternal flower or sandImmortelle,and Helichrysum italicum sin. Helichrysum angustifolium – coast Immortellewith subtypes H. italicum subsp. italicum and H. italicum subsp. microphyllum.
Species H. arenarium (sandImmortelle) It is found in Eastern France to Denmark as well as on the mountains of Uzbekistan on sandy grasslands, and heathland. It is also widely spread on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia where locals regularly pick and sell it throughout the summer (weather permitting even as late as September and October).For introduction into agricultural production, it is of particular importance to the species H. italicum. It is a lower bush that with its tiny flowers with a yellow color and a specific pleasant, slightly revered scent gives the characteristics of the Dalmatian karst. Coast Immortelleis an indispensable type of rocky pastures and other areas of the Croatian coast.
Coast Immortelle grows on dry, rocky or sandy ground around the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, Algeria, Morocco). The most famous natural site is located in Corsica.It grows wild on a karst area, poor sandy soils or shallow soils of abandoned agricultural areas. Higher amount of sunlight fits for Immortelle, which determines the aromatic properties. Aromatic properties determine the application of Immortelle, as well as other medicinal and aromatic herbs for pharmacological purposes, cosmetics industry and culinary.
Coast Immortelle(H. italicum) grows in the form of a bush height of 30 to 70 cm, whilethe specie sand Immortelle (H. arenarium), slightly shorter and can grow to 20 to 50 cm. On leafed stalking stems, alternate leaflets are arranged, which are from the front, and gray green from the back, covered with tiny hairs. The lower leaflets are basically gathered in rosette.
At the top of the stem that is also covered with hair, small flowers are gathered in recognizable yellow flowers that bloom from May to the end of July. The flowers retain their yellow color after flowering and drying, which is why they were called “immortal flowers” in ancient Greece; used for making wreaths. Each stem ends with blooms. Flower bushes are equal in height because the upper flower bushes are shorter and the lower longer.
The plant is two-fold. Men’s flowers are unpresentable,tubular shape. After fertilization the flowers quickly mature. The seed is persistent, black, tiny, and 1 g of seeds contains 3300-3700 grains. The undergrowth of the Immortelle is branched, deep penetrating into the ground. A faster flow of water is ensured by wider pipelines in the xylene morphology, making plants adapted to the drought.
AGROECOLOGICAL CONDITIONS OF BREEDING IMMORTELLE
Immortelle is well tolerated by the high summer temperatures of karst and rocky terrains, it requires stronger sunlight and can withstand sharper winters which is the reason it can naturally be found at higher altitudes.
SOIL AND MOISTURE
Immortellegrows successfully on easy permeable carbonate soils. It tolerates well drought and minimal nutrition of shallow Mediterranean soils. Immortellecan grow in fertile soils that provide enough calcium. In breedingImmortelle should be avoided soil acid pH reaction, soil with a higher amount of moisture and heavy soil. Preparation of shallow rocky fields includes mechanized cutting with the help of droppers that convert rocks to pebbleswhich has a bulk aggregate of 2 mm to 75 mm. In this way a substrate will be formed suitable for the processing and maintenance of the plantation.
Although the Immortelleis relatively resistant to diseases and pests, fungal diseases and pests can occur in breeding: leaf and shoulder ears, shrub moths, californian trips, oyster miners and molasses caterpillars.
RAISING THE PLANTATION OF IMMORTELLE
Immortelleis grown as a perennial in the period of five to eight years. Raising the Immortelle plantation it is well planned after the cultures that leave the soil with less weeds. It is best to breed legumes as a precrop, which will be removed by the end of August.
PREPARATION OF SOIL AND FERTILIZATION
Soil preparation starts with plowing at the end of summer at a depth of about 30 cm, then disking and fertilizing.
Basic treatment of the immortelle comprises of the hoeing, cultivation and top dressing. Destruction of weeds is done manually and top dressing needs to be done once during the growing season, in April, before the blooming.
Planting the seeds at the amount of 0,5 g/m2, will give 300-400 seedlings per square meter. Planting is carried out in cold frames in August at a depth of about 30 cm. If planted in spring the plot is left to freeze during the winter and after that the surface treatment begins in order to get the finest soil. Immortelle needs regular weeding, top dressing and watering. To plant seedlings planted in rows at a distance of 0,7 m x 0,4 m it is necessary to provide 35,000 plants per hectare, while in rows at 0.6 m x 0.3 m intervals, 55.000 plants per hectare should be planted on this surface.
It is desirable to water young plants in the planting stage as well as at the initial stage of plant growth, although the Immortelle does not have significant moisture requirements. Favorable conditions for growth and strengthening of shrubs should be provided to newly-planted Immortelle plantation. It is therefore necessary to remove weeds, which often make a significant problem. Crosswise cultivation will reduce the appearance of weeds in the plantations of Immortelle, and at the same time enable the breaking of the soil subsidence. In the first breeding season, cultivation has to be done several times depending on the appearance of the weeds, while the older crops in the season are cultivated most often twice.
PRODUCTION OF SEEDLINGS
The Immortelle is multiplied generatively by seed and vegetative cuttings or by dividing the bucket. Since direct sowing of seeds is not recommended, it is important to produce quality seedlings. The production of seedlings from seeds includes their breeding during the summer in cold hothouse. When hand sowing seeds on 1 m² cold germination point, about 0.5 grams of seeds need to be germinated, with a germination rate of 50%. 300-400 seedlings can be obtained from a cold hothouse of 1 m².
For the production of 1 hectare of Immortelle, it is necessary to provide about 150 m² of cold hothouse or 60 g of seeds. Seedlings can also be produced by direct seeding of seeds in the containers, which facilitates the production of seedlings. Seedlings produced from seeds after 90 days are ready for planting on farmland.
Production of seedlings of vegetative propagation from cuttings can take place in a protected area for four to five weeks. On the upper part of the cuttings with a length of 4 to 6 cm, it is necessary to leave about four leaflets, which will allow the photosynthesis process. Other leaves need to be removed to provide enough energy to create roots. Once the cut is made, the cuttings are placed in the prepared substrate. The previous application of the rooster hormone will certainly depend on the type of production. It is important to provide sufficient moisture and lightning to protect against excessive sunlight.
IN VITRO PROPAGATION
Micro-reproduction in in vitro conditions is the best-in-breed and safest breeding mode recommended in commercial production. Producers of seedlings of Immortelle which distributeplanting materialto commercial producers, their production needs to be registered through the Phyto-register, which is a precondition for issuing a herbal passport.
MOWINGAND IMMORTELE PROCEEDS
On the young plantations of Immortelle, it is certainly impossible to achieve the yields expected between the third and the eighth year. So the production of the Immortelle becomes economically justified only after the third year of breeding. In the first breeding season, it is important to strengthen the base parts of the shrubs, thus achieving the exuberance and quality of plantation in the following seasons, which determines the desired yields.
The Immortelle yields are tied to the production of dried flower and the production of essential oil. Immortelle harvest includes a cut of stems with bushes. Incorrect mowing to shrubby base bushes will prevent further plant growth. On larger surfaces mechanized mowing or customized machines will be of great use, while manual mowing the shrubsis practiced on smaller surfaces. When producing dried flowers, mowing is carried out when one third of flowers are full bloom.
The yields vary depending on the age of plantation and ecological microlocation conditions. Thus, the yield of a fresh flower in the full maturity of plantation varies from 7 to 8 t / ha, of which 3.5 to 4 t / ha dry flower will be obtained.
The process of drying the Immortellewhich preserves flower by dehydration can be carried out naturally or in dough. Drying the Immortelle flower naturally it will be a choice for smaller quantities of Immortelle. In the areas of natural drying, good air circulation should be ensured, and the Immortelle should be in thin layers on wooden frames. Because if the Immortelle is put in a thicker layer, it may cause decay or self-ignition. It is important that the Immortelle does not ne mixortumblewhich may causeundesirablebreakage. During natural drying, the Immortelle flower,it must not be directly exposed to sunlight or access to small animals and birds.
DRYING IMMORTELLE IN DRYERS
Drying the Immortelle flower in dryers; the process is more rapid compared to natural drying. The Immortelle is dried at 35 to 40 ° C.
The dried flower is stored in a dry and clean place. During drying and storing the flower of Immortelle from ecological breeding, it is important to provide areas for drying and storing exclusively ecological products. The premises for the drying of medicinal plants in ecological production must be subjected to the control of the organic production control body. If, in the dryers are dried products that are not ecologically produced, it is necessary to clean the organic products before drying. It is also important before the drying of organic products to report the ecological control body about that. In warehouses with mixed products, it is important to provide separate storage facilities for ecological products. In addition to the dried flower, the yields of Immortelle can be measured by the quantities of essential oil obtained.
IMMORTELLE HARVEST FOR OIL PRODUCTION
Immortelle harvest for the production of essential oil are carried out later in comparison to the harvest of Immortelle for obtaining a dry flower. The best time to harvest is when 50% of the flowers are opened in the plantation. For the production of essential oil, both; stems and flowers can be used. Then, first harvest takes place in July and the second in October. Harvest in January next year will increasecrop.
Immortelle should be distilled as soon as possible after harvesting, max. after one day. I fit stays longer, drop in the yield quality may occur. Expected yields of essential oil vary from 8 to 12 kg / ha, and of about 750 kg of fresh Immortelle mass, a kilogram of essential oil can be obtained. The procedures of distillation of Immortelle in ecological production are the same as in drying. This means that the distillery has to be subjected to control of the ecological production control body, and each distillation process of Immortelle from ecological production must be reported to the same control body.
Destilation of the Immortelle with water vapor takes place in distillation boilers of different capacities. In distillation boilers Immortelle issaved on a perforated surface, through which due to water heating,water vaporreleases. Water pairs extract the essential oil of Immortelleand so they flow into the capacitor. Water with essential oil is decanted in a separate vessel, where the oil as a light(er) substanceseparates on the surface of the water. Small amounts of essential oil are always contained in the distilled water (hydrolat) from which the oil layer is separated. Those are: Aqua aromaticae or flower water, hydrolytes. They can also represent significant revenue because their application can be found in the cosmetics industry and in the soap and perfume industry. Essential oils are stored at low temperatures in a dark place. It is important that containers in which the oil is kept vacuum-tight to prevent polymerization and loss of quality.
Immortellebelongs to the category of protected plants NN (7/06 i 99/09) and it is necessary to obtain the appropriate permission for its collection, issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nature. Permission can only be obtained for sites where no endangered plant species are intended to be harvested. When collecting wild plants, especially protected species it is obligatory to collect up to two thirds of the plant base. Also, plants should not be taken together with the rootbut to cut them off so as not to damage their natural habitats. Because there are limitations on the collection of the Immortelle from the nature, and market demands are significant, the Immrotelle becomes increasingly interesting in the contemporary production of medicinal and aromatic herbs.