Aeschynomene floribunda M.Martens & Galeotti
Aeschynomene glandulosa Poir. ex Lam.
Aeschynomene guayaquilensis G.Don
Aeschynomene javanica luxurians Miq.
Aeschynomene mexicana Biroli ex Colla
Aeschynomene mimulosa Blume ex Miq.
Aeschynomene tricholoma Standl. & Steyerm.
Hippocrepis mimulosa Noronha
Aeschynomene americana is an erect or ascending, rarely almost prostrate plant, sometimes an annual but at others becoming a shrub-like plant that can live for 2 - 4 years. It can grow 50 - 200cm tall and 100 - 250cm wide, depending on ecotype[
The plant is cultivated as a green manure crop, particularly for rice crops[
S. America - Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyanas; through the Caribbean to Florida; C. America - Panama to Mexico.
Found mainly in wet or moist places at elevations up to 2,800 metres. It is particularly suited to wet, low-lying, sandy soils and to similarly located solodics of coastal lowland country[
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A plant of the subtropics and tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,800 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 7 - 35°c[
]. It is tolerant of occasional light frosts, but can be severely damaged or killed by heavier frosts[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 600 - 4,000mm[
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Found on soils ranging from gravels and sands to clays, but mostly on finer-textured soils[
]. Plants are more tolerant of waterlogging and flooding than most warm season legumes, growth appearing to be favoured by periods of waterlogging and under such conditions, nitrogen-forming nodules tend to form at the base of the stem[
]. The plant also tolerates at least some drought[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4 - 8[
The plant has become naturalized in many areas of the tropics, and is considered to be invasive in some Pacific Islands[
]. It is not generally considered to be a serious weed[
Flowering commences 60 - 200 days after germination, with another 30 - 60 days to ripe seed[
Yields of dry matter may be 10 - 26 t/ha per year[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The plant is grown as a green manure crop, especially in rice cropping systems[
]. A good green manure, it is used extensively as a soil cover on marshy land in the teak estates of Java[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
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