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Useful Tropical Plants

Leucaena shannonii

Donn.Sm.

Fabaceae


This species belongs to a group of four closely related species, sometimes referred to as the 'Leucaena shannonii alliance. It comprises Leucaena lempirana C.E.Hughes; Leucaena magnifica (C.E.Hughes) C.E.Hughes; Leucaena salvadorensis Standl. ex Britton & Rose; and Leucaena shannonii Donn.Sm.. Some botanists prefer to treat these species as part of one variable species under Leucaena shannonii, with the other species reduced to subspecies[
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
].

+ Synonyms

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Leucaena shannonii is a deciduous tree with spreading, angular branching and an open, rounded crown; it usually grows 10 - 12 metres tall, occasionally reaching 15 metres. The bole in older trees can reach 20 - 50cm in diameter and be free of branches for up to 5 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
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It has potential for use as a pioneer in restorng native forest.
Leucaena shannonii is widely distributed, often locally abundant in secondary vegetation and sometimes a ruderal weed of roadsides. It thrives on disturbance and is of little or no conservation concern. 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

C. America - Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala to southern Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas)

Habitat

Seasonally dry deciduous forest, secondary vegetation, fencelines, a weed of roadsides and disturbed soils; at elevations from 400 - 1,000 metres, occasionally reaching 1,450 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
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height11.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Leucaena shannonii is a plant of the tropical lowlands growing in seasonally dry climates with a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,200mm and a 5 - 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.
Leucaena shannonii is a prolific and precocious seeder and shows weedy tendencies within its natural range, often spreading and colonizing ruderal sites such as roadsides or abandoned fields and sometimes forming dense thickets. The species is considered to pose some risk of becoming a ruderal weed in areas where it is introduced, although, as a colonizing species which thrives on disturbance, it is unlikely to invade pristine closed forest communities[
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
].
A generally slow-growing species[
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 plant is moderately susceptible to damage by psyllids[
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
].
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[
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.
].

Edible Uses

We have seen no records of this species being used for food, although (especially in southern Mexico) many species in the genus are commonly harvested for their immature seeds and young seedpods, leaves and flowerbuds[
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
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The seeds of this species are 6 - 8mm long and 4 - 6mm wide, with around 30,000 - 306000 seeds per kilogram[
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 a mid to reddish-brown, 90 - 180mm long and 11 - 14mm wide, There are 1 - 2, occasionally 3 seedpods produced from each 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
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is a natural pioneer, found in disturbed sites and secondary vegetation and occasionally becoming invasive[
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
]. In addition, it fixes atmospheric nitrogen and improves soil quality. Although slow-growing, it can be used as a pioneer species when re-establishing 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.
].
The plant is of particular value in its native range as a food source for bees[
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
].

Other Uses

An attractive wood, it is hard, heavy and durable, but not available in sufficient quantities for commercial exploitation. It is used locally for heavy construction[
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.
].
The dense wood makes a fuel of high quality and is also used to make charcoal[
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.
,
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.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-07-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Leucaena+shannonii>

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