Main characteristics of the licorice plant.
The licorice plant is a perennial herbaceous species characterized by considerable height development. The branches of the largest specimens exceed a meter in length. Licorice belongs to the legume family and the active ingredients used in pharmacopoeia and herbal medicine are extracted from the roots, while the juice is the basis of many confectionery preparations. It is resistant to high temperatures and its ideal soil is predominantly clay-limestone. Harvesting the roots is done when the plant is three years old. They are extracted at the end of summer and undergo various treatments to extract the juice or other useful elements. The most important active ingredient obtained from it is glycyrrhizin: an anti-inflammatory drug.
maintenance and watering
The licorice plant creates a fairly rounded bush. It grows well in dry soils and does not need watering. However, if the summer is particularly hot and without rain, you can proceed to watering licorice once every two or three days. It is always best to check the soil and only irrigate if it is completely dry. Licorice almost always spreads by rhizomes. They are separated from the parent plant in the fall, and to increase the likelihood of them taking root, they should be at least four inches long. At that time, all that remains is to bury them in phosphorus-rich soil. This substance will help the new plant to develop harmoniously.
diseases and parasites
The licorice plant it is susceptible to attack by many parasites and can easily fall ill. The leaves and stems of the bush can be attacked by rust: a fungal disease that ultimately leads to certain death in infested subjects. In this case, it is necessary to treat licorice with specific products, administered according to the doses indicated on the package purchased from a common agricultural consortium, even lice can have a deleterious action for the bushes, which begin to quickly lose their leaves. Also in this case it is essential to run immediately to cover by spraying the plant with a specific phytosanitary product. As for the roots, once harvested they are likely to be devoured by beetles.
Licorice plant: harvesting the root
Harvesting licorice roots is done in the fall months at the end of the bush’s third or fourth year of life. As soon as the leaves begin to dry and fall to the ground, we proceed to the complete cutting of the branches. Immediately after, they are pulled out of the ground, and the roots are pulled out one by one. To facilitate operations, special mechanical tools with rigid, well-spaced and long teeth are used. After harvesting, the rhizomes must be thoroughly washed to remove any soil residue and then undergo a special grinding process. Further processing changes depending on the final product to be obtained. For example, licorice paste is made by boiling the ground roots.