Different Cultivars of Large Cardamom Cultivated in Nepal
The large cardamom, known as“अलैची” is one of largest exports Agriculture commodity of Nepal. It is one of the highest commercial products that were first introduced in the Ilam district in 1865, but commercial cultivation began in the late 1950. Currently, it is grown in 51 districts, mainly in the eastern hill and mountain areas and gradually expanding to the western parts (Shrestha, 2018). According to the Ministry of Agriculture (2016/17) the cultivated land is 17,002 ha and the production is 6,521 metric ton.
Fig – Plant of Large Cardamom
Requirements for Large Cardamom Cultivated
- Altitude of 765 to 1675 m above sea level in humid and shaded parts of mountain streams and uneven slopes (Kumar et al., 2012).
- temperature ranges -4-20°C,
- Annual precipitation ranges 2000-2500 mm and more than 90% humidity
Fig- Fresh capsules of Large Cardamom
Cultivars of Large Cardamom Cultivated in Nepal
The major district of Large Cardamom Cultivated in Nepal are-Ilam, Panchthar, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung are the major cardamom producing districts. About 73% of total national production still comes from these four districts.
Major cultivars of large cardamom grown in Nepal are
- Cultivar Ramsai
Ramsai, is local origin and commonly adapted cultivar in Nepal. This cultivar is suited for higher altitudes (1400 m to 1800 m asl).
Characteristics of Cultivar Ramsai
- Flowering season – Second half of May ( peak flowering season)
- Capsules are small, the average 2.27 cm in length with 2.5 cm diameter, and with 30–35 capsules/spike, containing 16–30 seeds.
- The crop maturity occurs in October–November.
- The 8–10 years aged clumps possess 60–140 tillers. The tillers color is maroons green to maroon.
- It is more susceptible to viral diseases like Foorkey and Chirke especially if planted at lower altitudes.
2) Cultivar Golsai
This cultivar is suitable to low altitude areas below 1300 masl.The cultivar is known for its consistent performance though not a heavy yielder.
Characteristics of Cultivar Golsai
- Plants are not robust like other cultivars, and consist of 20–50 straight tillers with erect leaves. Tillers are green in color. Each productive tiller on an average produces two spikes.
- Flowers are bright yellow. On an average each spike is 5.3 cm long with 9.5 cm diameter and contains an average of seven capsules.
- Capsules are big and bold, 2.46 cm in length and 3.92 cm in diameter and contain about 60–62 seeds.
- This cultivar becomes ready for harvest in August– September.
- Golsai is tolerant to Chirke and susceptible to Foorkey and leaf streak diseases.
3) Cultivar Chibesai
It is commonly called “चिबेसै”.This cultivar is suitable in mid altitudes (700–1,800 m). The production potential of this variety is very high.
Characteristics of Cultivar Chibesai
- This variety possesslight green sword type leaves with short tillers
- Capsules in a inflorescence are more but small and contain less number of seeds.
- A single fruit-bearing tiller bears 2–4 spikes, each bearing around 10–12 capsules
4) Cultivar Dambersai
This cultivar is suitable to the altitude ranging from 700-1200masl. It is believed that the cultivation of this variety was started 150 years before in Bhojpur district.
Characteristics of Cultivar Dambersai
- This variety posse’s dwarf and fewer tillers, leavers are short and erect the veins of leaves are seen easily. The pseudo stem possess light red with green.
- This variety ripens in August-September, having large capsules, more number of seeds.
- The fruits of this variety is comparatively sweet than other varieties.
5) Cultivar Saune
This cultivar got the name from the Nepali month “साउन“ (August) in which it becomes ready for harvest at low and mid altitudes. This cultivar is widely adaptable, especially suited for 1300–1500 m. Cultivars such as Red Sawney and Green Sawney derived their names from capsule color.
Characteristics of Cultivar Saune
- It is robust in nature and consists of 60–90 tillers in each clump.
- Each productive tiller on an average produces two spikes.
- Average length and diameter of a spike is 6 and 11 cm.
- Flowers are longer (6.23 mm) and yellow in color with pink veins.
- The peak flowering time is Second half of May
- Capsules are bigger and bold and number of seeds in each capsule are more
- Harvest is done in September–October and may extend up to November in high-altitude areas.
- This cultivar is susceptible to both chirke and foorkey viral diseases.
6) Cultivar Bharlange
This cultivar grows in low, medium and high altitude areas. Its yield performance is exceptionally high at higher altitude areas i.e. 1500 m and above.
Characteristics of Cultivar Bharlange
- It is a robust type and total tillers may range from 60 to 150.
- Color of tillers is. Maroons-green to maroon towards collar zone; girth of tillers is more than that of Ramsai.
- Each productive tiller on an average produces almost three spikes with an average of 20 capsules/spike.
- Size of capsules is bigger and bold with 50–65 seeds.
- Harvest begins in last week of October.
- This cultivar is also susceptible to Chirkeand Foorkeydiseases.
7) Cultivar Jirmale
This variety was first grown in Ilam, latter it is disseminated to other places. This variety is suitable for water scarce areas. Jirmale can be grown up to 700-1000m altitude.This variety is successfully grown in Jhapa inside the supari garden (Timsina&Poudel, 2016).
Characteristics of Cultivar Jirmale
- This variety is characterized by dwarf type plant, green pseudo stem and leaves produce large number of suckers and white color flower.
- Each capsule bears 25-37 capsules containing 56 seeds per capsule.
- It is found that this variety is not highly affected by disease.
- Harvesting of Jirmale completes in Shrawan 15 to Bhadra 15.
8) Cultivar Madhusai
This variety is not commercially cultivated in Nepal. Flowering of this variety resembles to Turmeric flower that grows more from soil surface. Local scientists and farmers found this variety as little bit resistance to Chirke-Furke diseases.
NCARP Pakhribas, Dhankutahas started research in Madhusai for its suitability and for disease resistance capacity.
There is a great scope of large cardamom cultivation in Nepal due to wide climatic and its market value and demand in foreign market. Similarly, there is a great scope to improve farmer’s living standard and to uplift national economy.The CAGR analysis of 23 years available data on area, production and productivity shows that, the area is increasing significantly with 0.532 percent annually. Similar is the case for the production with CAGR of 0.491. But, the productivity is decreasing by 0.041 (Shrestha, 2018)
Beside from Nepal, India and Bhutan; large cardamom is also cultivated to some extent in some of the Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Laos (Naik et al., 2005) and China. Of them, Indonesia has recently emerged as the additional key producers (Gautam et al., 2016).
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Naik, J., Ramesh, B. S., & Gurudutt, K. N. (2005). Fumigation studies on cured large cardamom (AmomumsubulatumRoxb.) capsules. Journal of Food Science and Technology (India), 42(6), 531-533
MoAD (2015/016). Statistical Information on Nepalese Agriculture, Government of Nepal Ministry of Agricultural Development. Monitoring, Evaluation and Statistics Division Agri Statistics Section Singha Durbar, Kathmandu Nepal.
NARC.(2019) Annual Report 2018/19.National Commercial Agricultural Research Program Pakhribas, Dhankuta, Nepal
Shrestha, K. P. (2018). Growth Trends Analysis of Large Cardamom in Nepal (paper submitted to Nepalese Horticulture).