Assessment of allelopathic properties of Aloe ferox Mill. on turnip, beetroot and carrot
Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa L.), beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) and carrot (Daucus carota L.) are common vegetables in South Africa. The allelopathic potential of aqueous leaf and root extracts of Aloe ferox Mill.- a highly valued medicinal plant- was evaluated against seed germination and seedling growth of the three vegetables in Petri dish experiments. The extracts were tested at concentrations of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mg/mL. Leaf extract concentrations above 4 mg/mL inhibited the germination of all the crops, while the root extract had no significant effect on germination irrespective of concentration. Interestingly, the lowest concentration of leaf extract stimulated root length elongation of beetroot by 31.71%. Other concentrations significantly inhibited both root and shoot growth of the vegetable crops except the turnip shoot. The most sensitive crop was carrot, with percentage inhibition ranging from 29.15 to 100% for root and shoot lengths. Lower percentage inhibition was observed for the root extract than the leaf extract against shoot growth of beetroot and carrot. The results from this study suggested the presence of allelochemicals mostly in the leaves of A. ferox that could inhibit the growth of the turnip, beetroot and carrot.