Aeschynomene cachemiriana Cambess.
Aeschynomene diffusa Klein ex Willd.
Aeschynomene glaberrima Poir.
Aeschynomene macropoda DC.
Aeschynomene montana Span.
Aeschynomene oligantha Welw. ex Baker
Aeschynomene pumila L.
Aeschynomene punctata Steud.
Aeschynomene quadrata Schumach. & Thonn.
Aeschynomene roxburghii Spreng.
Aeschynomene subviscosa DC.
Hedysarum alpinum Lour.
Hedysarum neli-tali Roxb.
Hedysarum virginicum Lour.
Aeschynomene indica is an erect, usually annual, leguminous herb, though it sometimes lives for more than one year and then becomes more shrub-like[
]. The stems can be 30 - 250cm tall, they are hollow and pithy, mostly to about 5mm diameter (but up to 25mm at the base)[
The plant is gathered from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of material for craftwork. It is also sometimes grown as a green manure.
There are reports that the plant may sometimes be toxic to animals[
Widespread in the tropics, its original habitat is uncertain.
The plant is found in a wide range of habitats, but occurs mostly on soils that are subject to flooding and waterlogging[
]. Found in seasonally flooded waterlogged grassland; freshwater swamp and aquatic vegetation[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the warm temperate zone through to the tropics, where it is found at elevations from sea level up to 1,530 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 35°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 600 - 2,000mm[
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. The plant is largely found on soils with a texture ranging from sandy loam to clay, but is also sometimes found on black saline soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8[
Spreading freely at times by means of its seeds, it can become a serious weed in rice paddies[
]. It is considered to be an invasive weed in some areas of the tropics[
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[
]. If removing the plant at the end of the growing season, then it is best to cut it at ground level and leave the roots in the ground, since this will also leave the nitrogen for the next crop.
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. They can be parboiled and added to soups, cooked as a potherb, stir-fried etc[
The whole plant is dried in the shade, finely chopped, roasted and then used as a tea substitute[
The plant has many medicinal uses, including as a spermicide[
A freely nodulating, nitrogen-fixing species, it can be used as a green manure[
]. It is mainly used in rice fields, but can also be used in tea plantations[
Pith from the stem can be used for floatation[
The wood (known as 'sola wood') has a specific gravity of 0.04 and is the lightest wood known[
]. It is sometimes wrongly considered to be pith[
]. It is used for handicraft, but is inferior to the wood of Aeschynomene aspera[
The wood is used to make charcoal[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up 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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