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Artemisia pallens Davana Asteraceae
Davana is a delicate, erect, branched annual herb, the flowering top of which yields an essential oil which is extensively used in high grade fine perfumes. Davana is probably a native of South India. It is an erect branched annual herb 45 60 cm tall and covered with greyish white tomentum.
Davana is a delicate plant and hence cannot withstand heavy rains.  It prefers light drizzles, bright sunshine, and a mild winter with no frost and heavy morning dew during the growing season. Cloudy weather and rains during flowering and seed ripening stages adversely affects the yield.  The crop grown during November gives the maximum herb and oil yield. However, the crop can be grown round the year for use in garlands and bouquets.  The plant grows on various types of soils ranging from sandy loam to medium black soils, but humus rich red loam soils are ideal.
Seeds and sowing: 
The plant is propagated by seeds. Seeds are short‑viable and hence cannot be stored for long. Transplanting is generally practised in the crop. A nursery area of 500 m2  sown with about 1.5 kg seeds is sufficient for planting one hectare.  The seeds are mixed with fine sand, broadcast over the nursery bed, covered with a thin layer of sand and watered regularly. Seeds germinate in about 3‑4 days. When the seedlings are 10‑12 cm tall they are transplanted to the main field at 15 x 7.5 cm spacing. 

Country of Origin: India
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
Harvesting and processing: The crop is harvested during February March when a large number of flower buds start opening. Flower to plant ratio at the time of harvest is reported to be important in davana. Harvesting is done by cutting the whole plant with sickle at a height of 10 cm from the ground. The herb yield is 8 10 tonnes/ha.
The harvested herb is dried in shade for 2 3 days. The dried herb is steam distilled for a period of 6 8 hours for extracting the essential oil. The flower heads contain 0.3 0.4% of oil and in general, an oil recovery of 0.2% is achieved from the whole plant. The oil yield is 12 15 kg/ha.
Chemical constitutents: Davana oil contains davanone, fenchyl alcohol, cinnamyl cinnamate, caryophyllene, cadinene, linalool, dehydro linalool, davanafuran, isodavanone, dihydro-rosefuran, n alkanes, hydroxydavanone, geraniol and nerol. Davanafurans are responsible for the characteristic odour of davana oil though they constitute only 0.8% of the oil. Oil with more than 50-60% davanone is preferred in trade.
The oil is used for flavouring cakes, pastries, tobacco, beverages, sausages and preserved products. The leaves form an important component of garlands and bouquets
 

 

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