Plant material and Nurseries

We assume that the newly established enterprise produces its plant material from purchased seeds and purchased rootstocks. The seed currently costs about 25 guilders per gram, containing approximately 2500 seeds per gram.

The seed comes from the capsules of the Rubiaceae, which are collected in clusters, dried and ripened in mesh cages, and carefully sorted. The actual seed is a hard kernel in a wing-shaped membrane.

The sorting is done by sprinkling a small amount on a frosted glass plate under illuminated from below and using a chicken feather to separate the empty seeds from the ones with a kernel. The purchased seed must not contain any empty membranes.

This seed is spread out on seedbeds, neatly divided into square meters, with no more than 4 grams of seed "blown" onto each square meter. The sower takes a small amount of seed in the flat hand and blows it onto the respective square meter to ensure proper distribution of the seeds. "Good" seed can yield up to 80% of plants. The seedbed, whether or not equipped with a glass frame, is protected from direct sunlight by a so-called "Atap" roof, a woven grass roof through which the rain can glide beautifully.

Watering the seedbeds is a very delicate task, as a too hard stream falling on the densely packed seeds can cause loss of plants.

After about three weeks, the seeds germinate, and after about two months, they can be transplanted to a nursery bed, where they are nurtured until they can be brought to outdoor cultivation beds after about 9 months.

If these were Cinchona Ledgerina Moens seeds, they would be left there until the plantations or gardens are ready, and planting in the open ground can begin. If they were Cinchona Succirubra's, a portion of them would be separated for pure Succirubra cultivation.

Another portion is grafted using the so-called side-veneer grafting method. A twig with at least two internodes is diagonally cut, the lower end is made wedge-shaped and inserted into an incision in the rootstock, so that the two cambium layers touch each other. The whole thing is protected from moisture, dehydration, and high heat by wrapping it with raffia and covering it with grafting wax.

After about three weeks, the first shoots can develop, and once there are at least four mature leaves, the rootstock can be cut just above the grafting point. Once the twig has become woody again, it can be cut about 30 to 40 cm from the grafting point, and the "bibit," i.e., the plant material, is ready for transplantation.

From all this, it is clear that the production of plant material must begin two years before the major development, if one does not want to rely on purchasing it but rather wants to keep it entirely in their own hands.