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Useful Tropical Plants

Macroptilium atropurpureum

(DC.) Urb.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Phaseolus affinis Piper

Phaseolus atropurpureus DC.

Phaseolus canescens M.Martens & Galeotti

Phaseolus dysophyllus Benth.

Phaseolus schiedeanus Schltdl.

Phaseolus semierectus atropurpureus (Moc. & Sessé ex DC.) M.Gómez

Phaseolus vestitus Hook.

Common Name:

Macroptilium atropurpureum
Close-up of the flower
Photograph by: Harry Rose
Creative Commons License
Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum Macroptilium atropurpureum

General Information

Macroptilium atropurpureum is an annual to perennial, deep-rooting legume. The twining stems can be 5 metres or more long and up to 5mm in diameter; they scramble over the ground and grow into other plants for support. Stems close to the ground may develop secondary roots, usually on light soils when the soil surface remains continuously moist for some weeks[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant is used to reclaim and stabilize soils.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

S. America - northern Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, French Guiana; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean

Habitat

Moist or dry thickets, usually twining over shrubs, sometimes procumbent on banks, at elevations up to 1,200 metres in Guatemala[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsSelf, Insects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

The plant grows well from the subtropics with fairly cold winters to the seasonal tropics, succeeding in semi-arid areas but not doing so well in humid areas; it can be found at elevations up to 2,900 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 21 - 32°c, but can tolerate 13 - 36°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the root system can survive temperatures down to about -8°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 650 - 1,800mm, but tolerates 200 - 2,800mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a sunny position for best growth, tolerating light shade[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Tolerant of a range of well-drained soils, other than heavy clays,and growing well in soils of moderate fertility and tolerating poor fertility[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
,
713
Title
Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/cd-keys/rfk/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online resource giving botanical information, and a little bit about plant usage, for over 2,700 species of plants found in the Australian rainforest.
]. Succeeds in dry soils and very tolerant of drought once established[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Plants grow vigorously from seed - in weeded beds they can flower and produce seed in their first year, but when grown amongst other plants they usually take longer[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant generally lives from 1 - 10 years[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
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[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is used for the revegetation and stabilization of earthworks, and in road and railway cuttings and embankments[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It could be useful as a cover crop or as a fallow crop in shifting cultivation[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - it has a somewhat hard seedcoat and 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. Seed is generally sown in situ.

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