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Useful Tropical Plants

Calopogonium mucunoides

Desv.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Calopogonium brachycarpum (Benth.) Benth. ex Hemsl.

Calopogonium orthocarpum Urb.

Stenolobium brachycarpum Benth.

Common Name: Calopo

Calopogonium mucunoides
Close-up of a flower
Photograph by: Jago, B.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Calopogonium mucunoides Calopogonium mucunoides Calopogonium mucunoides Calopogonium mucunoides Calopogonium mucunoides Calopogonium mucunoides

General Information

Calopogonium mucunoides is a short-lived, vigorous, creeping, twining or trailing herb, that can send out stems up to several metres long and form a tangled mass of foliage 30 - 50 cm deep[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant is often grown as a green manure in the tropics[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Calopo was introduced into tropical Africa and Asia in the early 1900s and to Australia in the 1930s. It was taken into use as a green manure and cover crop in Sumatra in 1922 and soon thereafter in the rubber and sisal plantations of the central and eastern parts of Java. It was then brought to Malaysia as a cover crop for rubber. Calopo became naturalized in Indonesia and Malaysia, and has spread to most humid tropical areas of the world.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

Tropical America and the West Indies.

Habitat

Moist thickets, bushy, rocky areas and light forests[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
]. Moist or dry, rocky thickets, often on open banks, sometimes in pine forest; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitClimber
Height5.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

Calopogonium mucunoides is a plant of the hot humid tropics, where it succeeds at elevations from sea level to 2,000 metres, though it is best adapted to elevations of 300 - 1,500 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It grows best in areas where the annual rainfall exceeds 1,250 mm and daily temperatures range from 24 - 32°c, tolerating 18 - 36°c[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Plants are not tolerant of frost[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Vigorous growth occurs on soils of all textures, though it prefers a clay soil[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Succeeds in very acid soils, preferring a pH in the range 4.5 - 5[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Requires a sunny position - growth declines markedly if the plant is shaded[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Plants are tolerant of seasonal inundation of the soil and are also moderately drought-tolerant, but they may die out if the dry season is prolonged[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
The plant can become a localised weed in humid-tropical environments. It has invaded tropical ecosystems in northern Australia and is listed as a weed in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Calopo grows rapidly and is able to cover the soil in 3 - 6 months after sowing and even sooner on newly cleared, fertile land. It forms a dense entangled sward in 4 - 5 months after sowing, but the plants are short-lived and may only persist for 1 - 2 years[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
When grown as a cover crop in plantation crops in a mixture with tropical kudzu and centro, calopo is the first to become established but also the first to be shaded out. Long-term persistence is through recruitment of new plants from seedlings.
The root system is dense and rather shallow, its deepest roots reaching a depth of about 50 cm[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Flowering in calopo is initiated by short days. It is self-pollinated and seeds freely[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
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[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

A valuable pioneer legume, planted as a green manure to protect the soil surface, reduce soil temperature, fix atmospheric nitrogen, improve soil fertility and control the growth of weeds[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It is an important cover crop for plantation crops, especially rubber and oil palm, where it is often grown in a mixture with centro (Centrosema pubescens) and tropical kudzu (Pueraria phaseoloides)[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It will dominate cover crop mixtures during early growth due to its rapid establishment, forming dense mats of growth 50 - 60cm thick. This adds lots of humus to the soil, but can harbour snakes and will also hide crops such as coconuts when they fall from the trees. This growth is later suppressed by shading as other species develop[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Calopo grows vigorously, shedding a large amount of leaf litter onto the soil which smothers most weeds[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The effect of calopo and associated legumes in improving soil fertility may last for 14 - 16 years. In an experiment in Malang, Indonesia, a green manure crop of calopo grown for 3 months contained about 65 kg/ha nitrogen in its leaves, shoots and roots[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Calopo is usually propagated by seed, sown at 1-3 kg/ha. Seed is normally drilled in rows when sown into new plantations or broadcast in stands to be used for forage production. After seed is broadcast, the seed-bed may be rolled to improve establishment.
As calopo nodulates promiscuously with native rhizobia, seeds are usually not inoculated. If inoculum is applied, then cowpea strains such as the Australian CB 756 are used[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Newly harvested seed usually has more than 75% hard seed. Mechanical scarification, soaking in concentrated sulphuric acid for 30 minutes, or soaking in hot water (75°C) for 3 minutes is recommended to enhance germination[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Although calopo stems root at the nodes when in contact with moist soil the establishment of stem cuttings inserted directly into soil is generally poor. Use of pre and post-emergence herbicides or hand weeding promotes the establishment of calopo. with 1-3 kg/ha of calopo in a total mixture of 10- 15 kg/ha of legume seed. When sown for forage production, calopo has been successfully used in mixtures with stoloniferous grasses, such as molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora Beauv.) and Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth), and with tussock grasses such as setaria (Setaria sphacelata (Schumacher) Stapf & Hubbard ex M.B. Moss). Good results have been obtained from oversowing it into existing stands of pangola grass (Digitaria eriantha Steud.) which have been harrowed[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-18. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Calopogonium+mucunoides>

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