Machaerium campestre Mart. ex Benth.
Machaerium opacum is a deciduous tree with an open, elongate crown; it can grow 4 - 8 metres tall. The short, crooked bole can be 20 - 30cm in diameter with a very thick, corky bark[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for its wood, which is used locally. It can be used as a pioneer species for restoring native woodland.
S. America - eastern and central Brazil.
Savannah and woodland savannah; favouring well-drained, clayey soils of moderate fertility[
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Requires a sunny position[
]. Prefers a well-drained, clayey soil of moderate fertility[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
The plant is slow-growing, even when young[
Plants resprout from the base if cut down or burnt[
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.
Although slow-growing, the tree is a natural pioneer plant and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. It can be used in planting schemes for restoring native woodland[
The wood is medium-textured, straight-grained, heavy, hard, with moderate mechanical properties and moderately durable. A good quality wood but, because of its small size, it is only used for purposes such as lathe work, light cabinet making, carving and tool handles[
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed. A moderate germination rate can usually be expected, with the seed sprouting 20 - 35 within days[
]. When the seedlings are 5 - 7cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out 6 - 9 months later[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve 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[
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