Cracca candida (DC.) Kuntze
Kiesera candida (DC.) Reinw.
Kiesera sericea Blume
Robinia candida (DC.) Roxb.
Robinia sericea Sieber ex C.Presl
Xiphocarpus candidus (DC.) Endl. ex Hassk.
Xiphocarpus martinicensis C.Presl
Common Name: White Tephrosia
Tephrosia candida varies in habit from an erect herb to a shrub or small tree with straggling branches from the base; it usually grows up to 3.5 metres tall, occasionally reaching 5 metres[
The plant is particularly valued in agroforestry systems where it is used for a wide variety of purposes including as a green manure crop, to control soil erosion, increase soil fertility, provide shade and shelter[
]. It is cultivated in many countries, especially in tropical Asia[
] It is also sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens[
There are unconfirmed reports of the bark and roots being used as a fish poison[
Powdered leaves are used as an insecticide and the bark and roots are used as fish poison in India[
The plant contains rotenonoids and has been used traditionally as a fish poison - rotenoids kill or stun the fish making them easy to catch, but the fish remain perfectly edible for mammals. Rotenonoids are classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous. They are mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to many insects (hence their use as an insecticide) and aquatic life, including fish. This higher toxicity in fish and insects is because the lipophilic rotenonoid is easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg, but human deaths from rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone, however, can be fatal.
The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has an activity of six days in the environment.
E. Asia - India, Nepal, Bhutan.
Primary and secondary forest, higher locations in sago-palm swamps and disturbed places such as roadsides, riverbanks, steep slopes and fields[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental
A plant of the seasonally dry tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,650 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 14 - 34°c[
]. It does not tolerate frost[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,400 - 1,800mm, but tolerates 700 - 2,700mm[
Prefers a sunny position, tolerating light shade[
]. Grows well on sandy soils in coastal areas and on very poor, eroded upland soils and mine spoils where few other crops can grow[
]. Plants are intolerant of waterlogged soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5, tolerating 3.5 - 7.5[
]. The more acidic soils seem to be more suitable[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Tephrosia candida is a drought-tolerant, nitrogen-fixing shrub that is commonly used in agroforestry systems, especially for soil improvement and erosion control. It is also used as a green manure and in extended fallows, contour hedgerows, and as a shade and nurse tree. It has been widely introduced to many tropical regions for these purposes. Although now widespread, it is only reported as invasive in a few countries, including parts of China (Hong Kong and Hunan), Taiwan, Reunion and a few Pacific islands (Hawaii, Cook Islands, Samoa, Palau and Micronesia). It has the ability to form dense thickets, especially in disturbed areas, the resulting monocultures reducing the growth of native species[
White tephrosia is a deep rooting and can be slow to establish, but it grows steadily once established[
]. Maximum growth normally takes place in the 2nd year after planting, but with regular pruning a dense cover can be maintained for many years[
Annual biomass yields of about 12 - 18 tonnes per hectare can be obtained when the plant is grown with cassava, whilst 20 - 40 tonnes or more can be obtained when grown on its own[
Flowering times vary considerably - in Malaysia it flowers all year round, but it only flowers for 2 months of the year in Vietnam[
Over-mature pods will shatter and lose their seeds[
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[
With its ability to fix large amounts of atmospheric nitrogen and produce a good bulk of biomass, white tephrosia is widely used in agroforestry as a green manure crop, to restore degraded land etc[
]. Not only does it provide nitrogen, the plant also raises soil phosphorus and potassium levels in proportion to increased levels of organic matter[
]. Soil structure improves, water-holding capacity and permeability increase, and soil losses caused by water erosion decrease[
]. It can yield well on acid soils; for example, in Vietnam, green-matter content of the soil increased from 1.7 to 4%[
White tephrosia is widely grown in mixed cultivation, for example with pineapple, maize and other annual crops, and it is said to improve the quality of tobacco. Cassava is a shade-sensitive species and needs regular lopped hedgerows, for which this is a very suitable species. It has been tried as an alley crop with cassava planted in 7-m-wide inter-rows. Preliminary results indicate a greatly increased yield of cassava and a considerable reduction of erosion[
It makes a good nurse species and temporary shade crop when developing a woodland garden or when planting timber trees etc and can be used as a pioneer for restoring woodland[
It is grown as a temporary shade crop in newly planted perennial crops such as citrus, coconut, coffee, rubber and tea[
It has been used for rehabilitating degraded land[
White tephrosia has also been used in controlling the invasive grass species Imperata cylindrica, especially after fire, since the tephrosia can grow quickly and shade out the shade-intolerant grass[
Suitable for making hedges along contours, around fields and home gardens, as it is not eaten by domestic animals such as buffaloes and goats[
]. It is commonly used for hedgerows, providing mulch for different upland crops[
Powdered leaves are used as an insecticide[
The plant parts of many species in this genus contain rotenone-like compounds that have insecticidal properties[
]. Rotenone is an isoflavone that has strong insecticidal, pesticidal and piscicidal activities, but is of relatively low toxicity to humans.
When the species becomes woody with age, it provides suitable fuel wood[
Seed - soak the seed for 4 - 5 hours in warm water prior to sowing[
]. It should be sown just before or during the rainy season. The germination rate of fresh seed is 95 - 100%, but viability decreases rapidly unless seeds are stored in a cool, dry place[
]. When broadcasting, a planting density of 50 000-60 000/ha is aimed at, requiring 15-20 kg seed[
Seed storage behaviour is orthodox. No loss in viability following 3 years in either open storage or hermetic storage at room temperature with 13% ± 2% mc. There are between 300 and 500 seeds/kg[