If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Tropical Plants

Sesbania herbacea

(Mill.) McVaugh

Fabaceae


This species was long known as Sesbania exaltata (Raf.) Rydb. (treated here as a synonym), but the discovery of an earlier basionym led to a name change to Sesbania herbacea by R. McVaugh in Flora Novo-Galiciana 5: 695. 1987.
Further confusing the issue has been the question of whether this taxon is a distinct species or merely an annual derivative of a tropical perennial species commonly known as Sesbania emerus (Aubl.) Urb. We are following the treatment in [
1601
Title
Flora of Missouri
Publication
 
Author
Yatskievych G. (Director)
Website
http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=23
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, based on the three volume work 'Flora of Missouri', published from 1999 - 2013.
], which treats them as one species under Sesbanea herbacea.

+ Synonyms

Aeschynomene emerus Aubl.

Darwinia exaltata Raf.

Emerus herbacea Mill.

Sesbania emerus (Aubl.) Urb.

Sesbania exaltata (Raf.) Rydb.

Sesbania macrocarpa Muhl. ex Raf.

Common Name: Colorado River Hemp

No Image.

General Information

Sesbania herbacea is an erect, large, succulent-stemmed, open-branched plant with few, wide-spreading branches, it can grow 70 - 400cm tall. An annual in regions with frosts, it is a herbaceous perennial to sub-shrub in the tropics[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
,
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
,
1601
Title
Flora of Missouri
Publication
 
Author
Yatskievych G. (Director)
Website
http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=23
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, based on the three volume work 'Flora of Missouri', published from 1999 - 2013.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of fibre. Ir is often grown as a soil stabilizing and improving crop in plantations etc.

Known Hazards

The seeds may be poisonous[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
]. The seeds contain saponins and other toxic compounds that cause severe diarrhoea and internal hemorrhaging[
1601
Title
Flora of Missouri
Publication
 
Author
Yatskievych G. (Director)
Website
http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=23
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, based on the three volume work 'Flora of Missouri', published from 1999 - 2013.
].

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
,
1601
Title
Flora of Missouri
Publication
 
Author
Yatskievych G. (Director)
Website
http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=23
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, based on the three volume work 'Flora of Missouri', published from 1999 - 2013.

Range

Widespread, often as a result of cultivation, from Argentina, north through the Americas to southern USA. Probably genually native in Mesoamerica

Habitat

Fields and low ground[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Bottomland forests, banks of streams, and margins of oxbows and sloughs; also edges of crop fields, railroads, roadsides, and open disturbed areas[
1601
Title
Flora of Missouri
Publication
 
Author
Yatskievych G. (Director)
Website
http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=23
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, based on the three volume work 'Flora of Missouri', published from 1999 - 2013.
]

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitAnnual/Perennial
Height2.50 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Sesbania herbacea is not very cold tolerant, being killed by light frosts. In frost-free regions the plant perennates with a main stem that often becomes woody with age[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. It grows best in regions with hot summers and low humidity[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
Grows best in a sunny position. Grows well in alluvial clay soils[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. Requires a moist soil for best growth and can tolerate some flooding once it reaches seedling stage[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. Succeeds in soils with a pH in the range 4.5 - 7.2[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
Sesbania herbacea may easily become an invasive weed. It is a serious weed in soybean, cotton, sweet potatoes, and rice[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. Because it tends to colonize the banks of waterways and distribute its seed by water, it may be easily spread over a large area via watercourses. It can be an opportunistic plant in disturbed, less flooded, higher elevation sites[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
A fast-growing species, it can commence flowering just 45 - 50 days after sowing and continue to produce seed for a long period[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is grown mainly for use as a soil-stabilizing and soil-improving crop. It can produce 2 to 3 ton/acre in 75 days in above ground biomass. It was once used extensively as a cover crop in citrus groves, as well as by cotton and truck crop growers in California[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
,
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.
,
1601
Title
Flora of Missouri
Publication
 
Author
Yatskievych G. (Director)
Website
http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=23
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, based on the three volume work 'Flora of Missouri', published from 1999 - 2013.
].
When used in rotations it is recommended to dig the plant into the soil early, after 6 - 9 weeks of growth and before seed-set in order to avoid weediness. The plant can tolerate high mowing, and should be mown before incorporation into the soil[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
In Sinaloa Mexico, the plant was found to have higher yield, require less weed cultivation, and was less susceptible to pests than cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). The plant tends to sprawl and can be supported with sorghum sudangrass when grown in a warm-season mixture. Growing bigpod sesbania onto a support such as sorghum sudangrass will help the plant increase height, thereby optimizing plant leaf position and improving photosynthesis[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
Glands on the leaf margins secrete sugars that attract beneficial predatory insects such as parasitic wasps[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Other Uses

A strong fibre obtained from the bark can be used for making nets etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
]. It was an important fibre plant for the native North American Indians[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
].
The stems can be pulped and used in paper production[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits 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.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Sesbania+herbacea>

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.