Leucaena pueblana is a small, deciduous tree, sometimes multi-stemmed, branchy when young but developing an open rounded crown with age; it can grow 5 - 10 metres tall. The bole is 5 - 20cm in diameter, occasionally to 30cm[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of food. It is possibly also occasionally cultivated, or semi-cultivated.
Leucaena pueblana occupies a restricted distribution, endemic to the Tehuacan Valley. It is never abundant and regeneration is apparently susceptible to grazing pressure[
]..The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Southern N. America - southern Mexico (northern Oaxaca, southern Puebla)
A canopy tree in the prevalent dry thorn scrub forest[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild
Leucaena puebla is a plant of the semi-arid tropics of southern Mexico, where it can be found at elevations from 600 - 2,000 metres. The mean annual rainfall is around 500 - 700mm, with a 6 - 8 month dry season. The plant does not experience frost in its native range[
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. Established plants are likely to be very drought tolerant[
The plant has a high resistance to damage by psyllids[
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[
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[
Seedpods - raw or cooked[
]. The seedspods are green, strongly tinged scarlet unripe, becoming a rich orange-brown; they are 100 - 150mm long, and 13 - 15mm wide. There are 1 - 2 seedpods produced by each flower head[
]. 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[
]. The seeds are around 8mm long and 6mm wide[
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.
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