chapter  5
30 Pages

Rhodiola rosea Cultivation in Canada and Alaska

Rhodiola rosea in commerce is traditionally sourced from wild crafting. In recent years, attempts have been made to bring the crop into cultivation (Galambosi 2006). In North America, Alberta, and Alaska, it has been at the forefront of this emerging crop industry. In 2012, Rhodiola under cultivation occupied about 20 ha in the province of Alberta, Canada, and about 3 ha in Alaska, United States. Besides its importance as natural health product, Rhodiola provides full or part-time employment to over 150 growers in Alberta and over 20 growers in Alaska. In Alberta, Rhodiola is grown in the Boreal Plains and the northern part of the Prairies ecozone. In Alaska, growers are located in the MatSu Valley, Bethel, Delta Junction, Trapper Creek, Homer, Chickaloon, Fairbanks, Nenana, and Anchor Point (Illig 2011). The Rhodiola growing areas in Alberta have a continental, semiarid climate. Precipitation from May to August varies from slightly below 200 mm to more than 325 mm in the mountains. Temperatures are generally higher in southern than northern Alberta. The July average daily temperature ranges from warmer than 18°C in the south to cooler than 13°C in the Rocky Mountains and the north. Arctic air masses in the winter produce extreme minimum temperatures varying from cooler than –54°C in northern Alberta to –46°C in southern Alberta. Annual bright sunshine totals range between 1900 and 2500 h/year (Chetner et al. 2003). The normal climate for Edmonton and High Level in Alberta and Palmer Alaska is given in Table 5.1.