Preliminary investigation of the suitability of Cordyline australis (Asphodelaceae) as a crop for fructose production

Harris & Mann

Abstract

A trial exploring the potential of the New Zealand species Cordyline australis (ti kouka) as a modern-day annual crop for fructose production was conducted. Plants of four wild provenances were grown at densities of 2 500, 10 000, and 40 000 plants/ha for 1 year after transplanting. Maximum fructose yields for the provenances evaluated were estimated to be 4 t/ha at densities of 80 000 plants/ha. There is scope to improve yield and harvest index by selection of variation present in wild populations. The traditional Māori practise of coppicing C. australis as a perennial stem crop may be a better option than growing the species as an annual crop. Consideration of fructose syrup taste, byproducts, regional and ethnic associations, and speciality market options suggest that cropping of C. australis warrants further investigation.

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