What is soil enhancing cover crop - Hydrophyllaceae?

Maarten van Helden maarten.vanhelden at medew.ento.wau.nl
Thu Aug 1 05:27:54 EST 1996

In article <4tnocb$95l at news.fred.net>, kathy at fred.net says...
>I was recently seeing fields in Belgium and the Netherlands of Blue
>flowers which looked to me to be in the Hydrophyllacaeae.  I was told by a
>couple of people, including the wife of the farmer in one location, that
>it was planted for soil-enhancement purposes, but no one could tell me the
>name of the plant. Anyone know the name, and if it's something that's been
>being planted for this purpose for a long time or if it is something being
>used only more recently?  I checked books and libraries over there, but
>was unable to come up with any info.
>--Kathy Bilton  kathy at fred.net  http://www.fred.net/kathy/

Well it's just a phacelia spp. (tanacetifolia I think). It is used as a fallow 
 cycle in the EC fallow regulation, and strongly supported by local 
beekeepers. The plant usually dies at the first frost or is ploughed in as 
extra organic matter. It seems to grow on even the worst soils. The large 
amounts of nectar and pollen make it an attractive crop for many insects. And 
it looks nice too. Growing phacelia is something of the last 5-7 years I 
suppose, can't remember having seen it before. 


||\\  //||  Dr. Maarten van Helden
|| \\// ||  Dept. of Entomology
||  \/  ||  Wageningen Agricultural University
||||||||||  Binnenhaven 7, 6709 PD
||      ||  Wageningen, the Netherlands
||      ||  Tel +31-317-485118 Fax +31-317-484821
||      ||  Email: <maarten.vanhelden at medew.ento.wau.nl>

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