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Useful Tropical Plants

Leucaena macrophylla

Benth.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Leucaena houghii Britton & Rose

Leucaena macrocarpa Rose

Leucaena nelsonii Britton & Rose

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Leucaena macrophylla (subspecies macrophylla) generally forms a small, slender, and unimpressive upright tree with light branching; it can grow 4 - 7 metres tall. The bole can be 10 - 15cm in diameter[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food and is sometimes sold in local markets. It is occasionally cultivated as a food crop[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].
Leucaena macrophylla is of little conservation concern. It is widespread and often locally abundant and is present in several protected areas. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species

Range

Southern N. America - southern Mexico (Jalisco to Oaxaca)

Habitat

An understorey in various forest types including seasonally-dry deciduous, dry mattoral (mainly streambanks), oak and mixed oak forest. Often abundant following disturbance in secondary vegetation or roadsides; at elevations from 500 - 1,900 metres[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitTree
Height5.50 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Leucaena macrophylla subspecies macrophylla is found at moderately high elevations to 1,900 metres in southern Mexico. It is more cold tolerant than subspecies istmensis, but does not withstand frost. It is found in areas of seasonal rainfall, with a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 1,500mm and a 4 - 6 month dry season[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].
Leucaena species generally require a sunny position. They are often found in the wild on poor, shallow and dry soils, usually overlying a calcareous rock. Most of them do not thrive on acid soils. Most species experience a long dry season and are more or less drought tolerant.
The plant is a common element of secondary vegetation and has the potential to spread under open ruderal conditions and become a weed[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
]
The unripe seedpods are harvested by climbing the trees and lopping the terminal branches or groups of pods, often crudely, with machetes, small knives or cutting poles. Annual pollarding in this way apparently causes only limited damage to the trees which resprout and fruit annually[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].
The tree is moderately susceptible to damage by psyllids1518].
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

Immature seedpods - raw or cooked[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
]. The seedpods are 90 - 240mm long and 9 - 26mm wide. There are 2 - 4, occasionally 8, pods produced per flower head[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
]

Seeds - raw or cooked[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
]. Often eaten raw as a snack when working in the field, Leucaena seeds are also often used as a garnish on cooked foods or added to stews, mixed with beans and maize tortillas etc. After removal from the pods, the unripe seeds can be dried and stored for later use or ground into a flour and mixed with wheat, corn etc[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
]. The seeds are 5 - 6mm wide and 5 - 8mm long, there are 26,000 seeds/kg[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].

Young leaves - raw or cooked[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is a common element of secondary vegetation and has the potential to spread under open ruderal conditions and become a weed[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
]. With the added bonus of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, this sounds like a good pioneer species for use in restoring native woodland[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

The wood density is around average foe a species of Leucaena, with moderate formation of heartwood. Of small dimensions, it is used mainly as a fuel[
1518
Title
Leucaena A Genetic Resources Handbook
Publication
Tropical Forestry Papers No. 37
Author
Hughes C.E.
Website
https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/leucaena/
Publisher
Oxford Forestry Institute; Oxford, UK
Year
1998
ISBN
0 85074 145 9
Description
An excellent guide to the genus, giving detailed information on the various species
].

Propagation

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.
Cuttings of semi-ripe wood. Vegetative propagation has been successful in relatively few locations, reflecting critical environmental requirements, or possibly systemic fungi. The use of bare-root cuttings has worked in Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-12-06. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Leucaena+macrophylla>

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