Effect of agrotechnological elements on milk thistle (Silynum marianum) productivity

Keywords: primary tillage depth; inter-row spacing; timing of sowing; mineral fertilizers dose; medicinal plant; seed yield; oil yield


The milk thistle is a highly valuable medicinal plant, widely used in treatment of liver diseases. Soil-climate conditions of the steppe zone of Ukraine are favourable for crop cultivation. The goal of the study was to determine relations between milk thistle productivity and elements of cultivation technology, viz., primary tillage depth (14–16 and 20–22 cm), inter-row spacing (30, 45, 60 cm), timing of sowing (3rd decade of March, middle of April, 3rd decade of April) and mineral fertilizer application doses (no fertilizers, N45P45, N90P90). Field trials were carried out during the period from 2010 to 2012 on the irrigated lands of the Institute of Rice of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine by using the split plot design method in four replications. The climate of the territory of the trials is typical for the steppe zone. The soil type was dark-chestnut residual solonetz middle-loamy soil. We used the Yuhoslava variety of milk thistle in the trials. Cultivation technology was standard, excluding the studied factors. The results of the trials showed significant impact of all the studied cultivation technology elements on milk thistle seed and oil yields. The maximum average seed (1.66 t/ha) and oil (489 kg/ha) yields were obtained under the primary tillage at the depth of 20–22 cm, inter-row spacing of 60 cm, sowing in the 3rd decade of March, applying mineral fertilizers in a dose of N90P90. The highest input in seed and oil yields rise was made by the mineral fertilizers, which increased milk thistle productivity by 1.57 times comparatively with non-fertilized treatments. We also established a strong direct interrelationship between seed and oil yield: coefficient of determination was 0.96. Results of the current study are slightly limited, so further investigations in the field of milk thistle cultivation technology development and improvement are required to provide Ukrainian farmers with scientifically grounded agrotechnology of this valuable medicinal plant.


Afshar, R. K., Chaichi, M. R., Alipour, A., Jovini, M. A., Dashtaki, M., & Hashe mi, M. (2015). Potential of milk thistle for biomass production in semiarid regions. Crop Science, 55(3), 1295–1301.

Afshar, R. K., Chaichi, M. R., Assareh, M. H., Hashemi, M., & Liaghat, A. (2014). Interactive effect of deficit irrigation and soil organic amendments on seed yield and flavonolignan production of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertn.). Industrial Crops and Products, 58, 166–172.

Albassam, A. A., Frye, R. F., & Markowitz, J. S. (2017). The effect of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and its main flavonolignans on CYP2C8 enzyme acti vity in human liver microsomes. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 271, 24–29.

Andrzejewska, J., Sadowska, K., & Mielcarek, S. (2011). Effect of sowing date and rate on the yield and flavonolignan content of the fruits of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertn.) grown on light soil in a moderate climate. Industrial Crops and Products, 33(2), 462–468.

Angelopoulou, F., Kakabouki, I., Papastylianou, P., Papatheohari, Y., Konstantas, A., Karkanis, A., Travlos, I., & Bilalis, D. J. (2014). Effect of organic fertilization on growth and development of the root system of two medicinal plants, oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertn.). Bulletin UASVM Horticulture, 71, 2.

Barnes, J., Anderson, L. A., & Phillipson, J. D. (2003). Herbal medicines: A guide for healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London.

Carrier, D. J., Crowe, T., Sokhansanj, S., Wahab, J., & Barl, B. (2002). Milk thistle, Silybum marianum L. Gaertn., flower head development and associated mar ker compound profile. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medical Plants, 10, 65–74.

Chiavari, G., Galletti, G. C., Marotti, M., & Piccaglia, R. (1991). Silymarin con tent of different Silybum marianum L. Gaertn. cultivars. Herba Hungarica, 1–2, 23–27.

Flora, K., Hahn, M., Rosen, H., & Benner, K. (1998). Milk thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.) for the therapy and liver disease. American Journal of Gastroen terology, 93(2), 139–143.

Ghavami, N., & Ramin, A. A. (2007). Salinity and temperature effects on seed germination of milk thistle. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Ana lysis, 38, 2681–2691.

Habán, M., Luščáková, D., Habánová, M., Macák, M., & Kobidová, R. (2015). Yield potential of milk thistle production in south western Slovakia. Acta Fytotechnica et Zootechnica, 18(4), 79–82.

Haban, M., Otepka, P., Kobida, L., & Habanova, M. (2009). Production and quality of milk thistle (Silybum marianum [L.] Gaertn.) cultivated in cultural conditi ons of warm agri-climatic macroregion. Horticultural Science, 36(2), 69–74.

Karkanis, A., Bilalis, D., & Efthimiadou, A. (2011). Cultivation of milk thistle (Si lybum marianum L. Gaertn.), a medicinal weed. Industrial Crops and Pro ducts, 34(1), 825–830.

Keshavarz Afshar, R., Chaichi, M. R., Rezaei, K., Asareh, M. H., Karimi, M., & Hashemi, M. (2015). Irrigation regime and organic fertilizers influence on oil content and fatty acid composition of milk thistle seeds. Agronomy Journal, 107(1), 187–194.

Khan, M. A., Blackshaw, R. E., & Marwat, K. B. (2009). Biology of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and the management options for growers in north-Western Pakistan. Weed Biology and Management, 9(2), 99–105.

Lange, D. (2002). Medicinal and aromatic plants: Trade, production, and manage ment of botanical resources. XXVI International Horticultural Congress: The Future for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 629, 177–197.

Lucini, L., Kane, D., Pellizzoni, M., Ferrari, A., Trevisi, E., Ruzickova, G., & Ars lan, D. (2016). Phenolic profile and in vitro antioxidant power of different milk thistle [Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.] cultivars. Industrial Crops and Products, 83, 11–16.

Malekzadeh, M., Mirmazloum, S. I., Mortazavi, S. N., Panahi, M., & Angorani, H. R. (2011). Physicochemical properties and oil constituents of milk thistle (Silybum marianum Gaertn. cv. Budakalszi) under drought stress. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 5(13), 2886–2889.

Morazzoni, P., & Bombardelli, E. (1995). Silybum marianum (Carduus maria nus). Fitoterapia, 66, 3–42.

Nasrabadi, S. E., Ghorbani, R., Moghaddam, P. R., & Mahallati, M. N. (2014). Phenological response of milk thistle (Silybum marianum [L.] Gaertn.) to different nutrition systems. Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 1(4), 148–151.

Nikolaychenko, N. V., Eskov, I. D., Druzhkin, A. F., Kishnikatina, A. N., Strizh kov, N. I., & Shyurova, N. A. (2018). Yield, oil content and biochemical composition of seeds of milk thistle, depending on the methods of soil culti vation in the Volga region steppe zone. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 10(1), 223–227.

Omer, E. A., Refaat, A. M., Ahmed, S. S., Kamel, A., & Hammouda, F. M. (1993). Effect of spacing and fertilization on the yield and active constituents of milk thistle, Silybum marianum. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants, 1(4), 17–23.

Post-White, J., Ladas, E. J., & Kelly, K. M. (2007). Advances in the use of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Integrative Cancer Therapies, 6(2), 104–109.

Rahimi, A., & Kamali, M. (2012). Different planting date and fertilizing system effects on the seed yield, essential oil and nutrition uptake of milk thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.). Advances in Environmental Biology, 6(5), 1789–1796.

Ross, S. M. (2008). Milk thistle (Silybum marianum): An ancient botanical medi cine for modern times. Holistic Nursing Practice, 22(5), 299–300.

Saad-Allah, K. M., Fetouh, M. I., & Elhaak, M. A. (2017). Induction of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertn) growth and phytochemicals production by natural stimulants. Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 6, 101–110.

Saki, K., Eftekhari, Z., Jelodari, M., Shahsavari, S., Moradifar, M., & Bahmani, M. (2015). Therapeutic effects and pharmaceutical products manufactured from milk thistle (Silybum marianum) in Iran. Advanced Herbal Medicine, 1(2), 1–3.

Seeff, L. B., Lindsay, K. L., Bacon, B. R., Kresina, T. F., & Hoofnagle, J. H. (2001). Complementary and alternative medicine in chronic liver disease. Hepato logy, 34(3), 595–603.

Shamsi, K. (2009). Effect of planting date and density on the yield and yield com ponents of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L.). Journal of Applied Bioscien ces, 16, 862–863.

Siegel, A. B., & Stebbing, J. (2013). Milk thistle: Early seeds of potential. The Lancet Oncology, 14(10), 929.

Smatana, J., & Macák, M. (2011). Analysis of cropping patterns of medicinal and spices plants growing on prime arable land. Acta Fytotechnica et Zootech nica, 14(2), 37–40.

Stancheva, I., Georgiev, G., Geneva, M., Ivanova, A., Dolezal, M., & Tumova, L. (2010). Influence of foliar fertilization and growth regulator on milk thistle seed yield and quality. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 33(6), 818–830.

Tamayo, C., & Diamond, S. (2007). Review of clinical trials evaluating safety and efficacy of milk thistle (Silybum marianum [L.] Gaertn.). Integrative Cancer Therapies, 6(2), 146–157.

Wierzbowska, J., Bowszys, T., & Sternik, P. (2012). Effect of a nitrogen fertilizati on rate on the yield and yield structure of milk thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.). Ecological Chemistry and Engineering A, 19(3), 295–300.

How to Cite
Vozhehova, R. A., Fedorchuk, M. I., Lavrynenko, Y. O., Kokovikhin, S. V., Lykhovyd, P. V., Biliaieva, I. M., & Nesterchuk, V. V. (2018). Effect of agrotechnological elements on milk thistle (Silynum marianum) productivity. Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 9(2), 156-160. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/021823

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.