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Slightly More Unusual Medical Herb Seeds. > Certified Pyrethrum (Tanacetum cinerariifolium)
Certified Pyrethrum (Tanacetum cinerariifolium)

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Certified Pyrethrum
Tanacetum cinerariifolium
Uses: Industrial Duration: Perennial (hardy in zones 4-9)
When to Sow: Spring/Late Summer/Early Fall Ease of Germination: Easy

Source of one of the safest of all insecticides. White daisy flowers contain pyrethrins which act directly on the nervous systems of aphids, mites, leafhoppers, cabbageworms and other insects. Will not harm fish, waterfowl, plants or mammals. To make pyrethrum spray, mix 1 tblsp freshly ground dried flowers with 2 qt. (2 litres) hot water. Add a little soap and let stand.
CERTIFIED This is a high potency strain grown for the world pyrethrum market.

1. Where is the seeds from? I want to know the original grow conditions. 
The seeds we sell are produced in the United States. The original stock for this breeding line came from the major pyrethrum producing countries Kenya, Tanzania, Ecuador and India about 20 years ago. This line is currently used for pyrethrins production. 
  2. What's the flower yield? 
The dry flower yield is the most variable trait in pyrethrum. Growing conditions such as climate, soil type, nutrient status of the soil have profound effects on flower yields. Typical yields for this line range from about 400 to 800 kg/ha. Much higher flower yields -- up to about 2000 kg/ha -- are possible from improved cultivars. 
3. What's the contant of the pesticide pyrethrin in the flowers? 
The typical pyrethrins content in the dry flowers for this line ranges from about 1.4 to 1.8 per cent. But this line has shown some useful variability -- with some individual plants exceeding 2.0 percent -- so this line can easily be used as a basis for a breeding program to push the pyrethrin content higher. The elite varieties get up to 3.5 percent and beyond. 



 What is Pyrethrum?

Pyrethrum is a botanical insecticide produced primarily in the flowers of Tanacetum cinerariaefolium, a species of the chrysanthemum plant family. Pyrethrum plants have historically been grown in commercial quantities in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Papua New Guinea. Over the past decade, Tasmania and Uganda began producing pyrethrum. Today Kenya and Tasmania are the largest pyrethrum growing and producing countries.

In East Africa the mature pyrethrum flowers are picked by hand, sun dried to remove moisture, and sent to a processing plant for extraction of the active ingredient-pyrethrins, a mixture of six closely related esters. In Tasmania the flowers have been bred to synchronously flower so they can be mechanically harvested. As in Africa, the flowers are sun dried and processed to produce the insecticide pyrethrum.

Pyrethrum is an ancient insecticide. The insecticide properties of the flowers were documented in the early 1800’s but it is suspected that the flowers were used to kill insects a considerable time earlier. The first commercially available products were powders made from ground flowers and later crude oil extractions became popular. Today, the refining of crude pyrethrum extract to remove the plant material, waxes, etc. is a highly complex process resulting in a product that is clear and free of allergens.

Pyrethrum has been used effectively to control insects for decades and is non-persistent, decomposing rapidly in the environment. This rapid degradation of pyrethrum has resulted in little known cases of insect resistance making it an excellent choice for the control of agricultural pests.

From a toxicological viewpoint, pyrethrum has been extensively studied. It is low in acute toxicity to man and other vertebrate animals, is non–carcinogenic, causes no adverse reproductive affects and is non-mutagenic.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Tools to prepare soil
  • Fertilizer

Step 1:
Make certain that you are in zone 3 to 7. The warmer the climate, the more insect repellent the plant contains. Even in cold regions, however, it's a beautiful plant.

Step 2:
Prepare an area that receives full sun. Loosen the soil well. Pyrethrum can tolerate some shade, such as that provided by growing garden plants.

Step 3:
Choose how you will get your plants. Division in the spring or late fall is the easiest, but if you have no other plants available, sowing the seed is a viable possibility. Once a plant has grown, you can use division to increase your plant stock.

Step 4:
Sow seeds outdoors after there is no more danger of frost. The seeds should be at least 3" apart and a thin layer of fine soil covering them. Tamp the soil down firmly. Always remember the rule of thumb for planting--cover the seed with twice as much soil as its size. The pyrethrum germinates in 7 to 10 days.

Step 5:
Keep the area moist and composted. Thin the plants when they are two inches high. Transplant them to 12 to 18 inches apart.

Step 6:
Pinch the stem tips when they are about 6 inches tall to prevent legginess.

50 seeds