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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Cucurbitaceae
Genus
:
Cucumis
 
Tannia or xanthosoma is a herbaceous edible species grown in India. It is cultivated on a small scale in our country either as a kitchen garden crop or as an intercrop in banana and other plantation crops. This crop is getting popularity in Maharashtra, Gujarat and other parts of India for making roll of leaves. It looks like Colocasia but it is much bigger and attains a height of 2m. It matches Colocasia in nutritive and medicinal values.
   
Climate and soil  
It thrives well in hot and humid tropical conditions with an average annual temperature of 25C. It is essential to have frost-free period during the crop growth. It can be grown at 1,500m above mean sea-level. A well-distributed rainfall of 1,5002,000mm during its growth period is ideal. Well-drained, fertile, sandy loam to clay soil with a pH 5.56.8 is ideal for its cultivation. It can withstand dried conditions but not the waterlogging.
 
Varieties
There are no specific released varieties of tannia in India. Only local selections with low acridity, good texture and suitability of leaves for making rolls are available. Where corms and cormel yields are being preferred, local collections with high yield and less acridity are desired. For making rolls, cultivars with high leaf yield and less acridity are preferred.
   
Propagation
Corms and cormels are usual planting material. Healthy cormels of bigger size and 2025cm long are commonly used. The setts from the top portion of the main corm with a thickness of 510cm containing the apical bud are also used for propagation. In home gardens, it is usually grown as a ratoon crop. The cormels are separated annually from the main corm which is covered with soil after removing the cormels. This practice can be repeated up to 56 years. In some parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat where only leaves are harvested, the main corms and cormels are left in the field. They act as new planting material.
   
Cultivation  

Planting

Ploughing should be done 23 times to a depth of 2025cm until the soil is brought to a fine tilth. Tannia is usually planted on ridges and spacing varies from 60cm × 60cm to 1m × 1m. In certain parts of Maharashtra, where it is raised for leaf purpose, the plants are grown on raised beds of convenient length with 1m breadth and 30cm height. Farmyard manure, well-rotten cowdung and plant residues should be applied before planting.

A dose of farmyard manure @ 20 tonnes/ha is advocated. Usually seed cormels are planted 67cm deep. In some places, cormels are planted with the growing bud pointing downwards. While planting the cut pieces of the main corm or suckers, it is advisable to keep the apical portion above the ground level. Planting is usually done with the onset of the rain. But, it can be planted throughout the year under irrigated condition. Spacing can be adjusted according to the availability of water supply and extent of solar radiation. A wider spacing can be adopted when it is raised as an intercrop with banana or in coconut gardens.

Manuring and fertilization

Apply 1015 tonnes/ha of cattle manure or compost at the time of planting. Application of 80:60:80kg/ha of N:P:K is economical. Half dose of N and K and full dose of P are applied at the time of planting. Remaining dose of N and K is applied in 2 split doses, first 710 days after sprouting and second 1 month after first application. The N and K should be applied in shallow rings around the plant at a distance of 710cm from the main clump. Fertilizer requirement varies according to soil and method of planting.

Aftercare

The field should be always kept weed-free. Weeding and earthing-up should be done at the time of fertilizer application. When crop is grown in kitchen garden without applying any fertilizer, weeding is done especially at the early stage of plant growth. Lower leaves and petioles should be removed when they start drying. When wider spacing is followed, more number of weedings is required as the leaves take more time to cover the entire area and suppress weed growth.

Irrigation

Some early-maturing, local cultivars can be profitably grown in kharif season without irrigation. However, it requires moist soil conditions to provide better yield of corms and succulent leaves. It cannot withstand waterlogging. During summer and drought periods, it is essential to give 56 shallow irrigations to maintain soil moisture.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

If the crop is grown for leaf purpose, then harvesting of the leaves should be done immediately after they attain maturity. A leaf size of 2030cm × 2030cm is ideal for making roll. Thus 4050 leaves can be harvested from 1 clump during its entire growth period. Leaves are harvested along with the petiole. Petioles are also used as a vegetable. If the crop is intended for taking corms, then it can be harvested when older leaves start turning yellow. Its corms do not deteriorate if left unharvested in the soil and in this way harvesting can be done from 6 months onward up to 9 months. If it is to be grown as a ratoon crop, the soil around the clump should be dug to remove the mature cormels. The main corm is retained along with roots and covered with soil. This can be practised for 45 years. The corms can be stored for a period of 45 months under well-ventilated and dry conditions.

Care should be taken to avoid injury to the corms while harvesting. After harvesting, curing of the corms and cormels is done in sunlight for 45 days. The corms and cormels can be stored embedded in dry soil or sand for a period of 45 months under ventilated, dry and semi-dark conditions. 

 
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Xanthosoma
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