Indian crocus, also known as bhucampaka in Sanskrit, abhuyicampa in Hindi
and chengazhinirkizhangu in Malayalam is a medicinal herb with aromatic
rhizome. The rhizomes are used for the treatment of tumours, swellings and wounds.
It helps to remove blood clots and other purulent matters in body. It is used in
many ayurvedic formulations including 'Chyavanaprasam' for improving complexion
and curing burning sensation, gastric complaints, mental disorders and insomnia.
Climate & Soil
The plant is distributed in the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. It grows
wild in wet, humid or shaded forest ecosystems of south India. It is also cultivated
as an intercrop with other commercial crops. Moist loamy soil is ideal for the crop.
Laterite soil with heavy organic manure application is also well suited.
It is propagated through rhizomes and tissue culture methods.
At present, only local types are available for cultivation.
The optimum time of planting is with the receipt of four or five pre-monsoon showers
Plough the field to good tilth. Incorporate organic manure at 10-15 t/ha. Prepare
raised seedbeds of 1 m breadth and of convenient length.
Use rhizome bits of size 10-15 g for planting. About 2500-3000 kg rhizomes are required
for planting one hectare. Smoking the rhizomes for 2-3 weeks is good for the development
of healthy sprouts. At times, rhizomes are stored in Glycosmis pentaphylla
(panal) leaves in underground pits covered with coconut fronds.
Pits are made at 20 cm spacing on the seedbed. Whole or split rhizomes with at least
one healthy sprout is planted 5 cm deep with the sprout facing upwards and covering
the pit with FYM.
Mulch the beds thickly with green leaves or straw @ 15 t/ha immediately after planting
and again after two months along with weeding and topdressing. Mulching is absolutely
essential for good growth.
Fertilizer application can be skipped in fertile soils. In poor and marginal soils
a moderate dose of 50:50:50 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha may
be applied; P2O5 as basal and N & K2O in two
or three split doses.
Remove weeds, apply manure and fertilizers and earth up two and four months after
planting, followed by mulching.
During rainy months, rhizome rot is noticed which can be controlled by drenching
1% Bordeaux mixture.
Harvesting and yield
The crop matures in 7-8 months. Drying up of the leaves is the indication of maturity.
Dig out the rhizomes carefully, remove leaves and clean. The rhizomes with attached
tubers are usually marketed afresh. Prolonged storage may cause insect and fungus
attack. The average yield is 12-15 t/ha and dry rhizome yield 27-30%.