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Journal of Medicinally Active Plants






American Council for Medicinally Active Plants

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Corn lily or California false hellebore (Veratrum californicum Durand), a perennial species native to the western United States, produces several alkaloid compounds. A derivative of these alkaloid compounds, primarily veratramine and cyclopamine, shows promise as a therapeutic agent for treatment of a variety of tumor types. Here we report the first study of corn lily cultivated in greenhouse. Growth response of corn lily was examined under two light levels (ambient and supplemental), two fertilization types (20 N-4.4 P-16.6 K Peat-lite special and 15N-2.2P-12.5K CalMag special) at 100-mg·L-1 total nitrogen, and three irrigation cycles [sub-irrigation every day (wet), every third day (dry), and hand watering]. Net CO2 assimilation rate (Pn) and transpiration rate (ET) of corn lily grown under supplemental light were 11.0% and 44.7%, respectively, higher than those under ambient light. The Pn and ET of corn lily grown with the wet irrigation cycle increased by 15.2% and 29.4%, respectively, when compared with the Pn and ET of plants grown under the dry irrigation cycle. Corn lily grown wet with supplemental light had the highest average Pn of 8.55 ± 0.36 μmol·m-2·s -1, while plants grown under ambient light with hand watering had the lower average Pn of 6.52 ± 0.48 μmol·m-2·s -1. The highest mean ET recorded for corn lily was 4.97 ± 0.17 mmol·m-2·s -1 when plants were grown dry with supplemental light, while the lowest ET recorded was 2.51 ± 0.18 mmol m-2 s-1 when plants were grown under ambient light and hand with supplemental light and when volumetric water content remained above 44%. The water use efficiency of corn lily may be low, as water is not normally limiting in the natural environment where corn lily grows.