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Useful Tropical Plants

Deguelia rufescens urucu

(Killip & A.C.Sm.) A.M.G.Azevedo

Fabaceae


The nomenclature of this species is rather confusing, with some botanists recognising the name we have used here, whilst all three alternative names given in the synonyms list are also recognised by different botanists.
There has been considerable confusion amongst botanists over the status of the genus Deguelia, with it variously being included in Derris and Lonchocarpus. We are following the treatment in Camargo & A.M.G. Azevedo Tozzi. 2014. A synopsis of the genus Deguelia (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Millettieae) in Brazil. Brittonia 66(1): 12-32, which treats it as distinct[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Derris urucu (Killip & A.C.Sm.) J.F.Macbr.

Lonchocarpus nicou urucu (Killip & A.C.Sm.) F.J.Herm.

Lonchocarpus urucu Killip & A.C.Sm.

Common Name: Barbasco

No Image.

General Information

Deguelia rufescens urucu is an erect, evergreen shrub or a climbing plant producing several woody stems from its base that clamber into other plants for support.
This plant is an important source of the organic insecticide rotenone (the active ingredient in derris). It was first cultivated in S. America by the native people before the arrival of the Europeans, who used it as a fish poison and to kill ants. It is now cultivated on a fairly large scale in parts of tropical S. America and some other tropical areas, the rotenone being exported to various other countries throughout the world[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

The plant contains rotenone and has been used traditionally as a fish poison[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
] - the rotenone kills or stuns the fish making them easy to catch, but the fish remain perfectly edible for mammals. Rotenone is classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous. It is mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to many insects (hence its use as an insecticide) and aquatic life, including fish. This higher toxicity in fish and insects is because the lipophilic rotenone is easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg, but human deaths from rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone, however, can be fatal.
The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has an activity of six days in the environment.

Botanical References


Range

Northern S. America - Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela.

Habitat

From grasslands to dense forests, from 'terra firme' to permanently inundated areas; at elevations around 100 - 120 metres[
1416
Title
A synopsis of the genus Deguelia (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Millettieae) in Brazil
Publication
Brittonia, DOI 10.1007/s12228-013-9302-4
Author
Camargo R.A. & Azevedo Tozzi A.M.G.
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
1938-436X
Description
 
]

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Climber
Height0.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Babasco is a plant of the moist tropics where it is found at elevations from near sea level to 1,340 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature ranges from 23 - 32°c, but can tolerate 15 - 41°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,300 - 2,700mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 3,100mm, and is found in areas with all year round rainfall and also where there is a distinct dry season[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Succeeds in full sun and in dappled shade[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Young plants benefit from some shade, while older plants make more vigorous growth in full light[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Grows best in a medium soil that is rich in organic matter, but also succeeds in heavier soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, but can tolerate 5 - 7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The first harvest of the stems can be made when the plants are 2 - 3 years old from cuttings[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
The roots are usually harvested during the dry season[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The root is an important source of rotenone, widely used as an organic insecticide[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The rotenone content of the roots (ranging from 4 - 11%) is less than that of the related Lonchocarpus nicou (which ranges from 5 - 15%, with some clones yielding 20%). This, however, is somewhat balanced by the fact that the overall yield of roots is higher for this species[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-10-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Deguelia+rufescens+urucu>

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