Photograph by: Daderot
Machaerium nyctitans is a spiny, semideciduous tree with a dense, rounded crown; it can grow 8 - 18 metres tall. The short bole can be 40 - 60cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its wood, which is used locally. It can be grown as a pioneer to restore woodland and furnishes an excellent shade so is suitable for street planting[
S. America - Argentina, southern and eastern Brazil.
Semideciduous forests and moist slopes in the Atlantic rainforest, found mainly in more open, secondary formations and rarely in the dense forest. If grows in most soil types and can be found on drier slopes as well as humid lowlands[
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Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Succeeds in a wide range of soils[
A fairly fast-growing plant, able to reach a height of around 2.5 metres within 2 years from seed[
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[
A fairly fast-growing tree that fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it can be used as a pioneer species when restoring native woodland[
The wood is moderately heavy, elastic, with excellent mechanical properties, moderately durable if kept dry. It is used in making cart shafts, tool handles, oxen yokes etc[
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. Seedlings do not transplant well, so sow the seed in a partially shaded position in individual containers. A low germination rate can be expected from untreated seed, with the seed sprouting within 10 - 20 days[
]. The seedlings develop very rapidly and they should be ready to plant out 5 - 6 months later[
The seed has a viability of less than 6 months in storage[
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