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Useful Tropical Plants

Aeschynomene afraspera

J.LĂ©onard

Fabaceae


This species, the range of which is strictly African, has in the past been confused with the Asian species Aeschynomene aspera L.[
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.
].

+ Synonyms

Aeschynomene aspera Baker

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Aeschynomene afraspera is an annual to perennial plant that can grow 1 - 3 metres tall with stems that can become somewhat woody and persist[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
]. Plants growing in isolation are sub-erect to spreading, with abundant branching; when growing in a dense stand they are erect with a single stem. The root and thick stem can be hollow or filled with pith[
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 is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. It is being increasingly grown as a green manure crop in rice paddies.
Aeschynomene afraspera is widespread with an assumed stable population and no major widespread threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2018)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

Africa - originally sub-Saharan from Senegal to Sudan, now widespread in the tropical lowlands.

Habitat

A semi-aquatic pioneer plant of marshes and temporarily wet places; at elevations up to 1,050 metres[
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.
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. It can form dense stands in soil depressions that are waterlogged during the rainy season, and in coastal freshwater lakes and rivers[
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.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitAnnual/Perennial
Height2.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Aeschynomene afraspera is found at elevations from sea level to 900 metres in tropical areas with a distinct dry season and a monomodal rainfall distribution[
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.
].
Succeeds in a wide range of soils, from pure dune sands along rivers to peat soils in mangrove swamps so long as there is sufficient plant-available phosphorus (at least 10 ppm). Soil reaction can range from alkaline in salt flats to highly acidic in acid sulphate soils[
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 occasionally appears as a weed in rice fields[
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.
].
A fast-growing plant, though initial growth until the fifth leaf has been produced is slow[
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.
]. With the onset of stem nodulation and/or closure of the canopy the plant then grows rapidly, and can reach a height of 60 - 150cm within 2 months[
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.
].
In the Philippines the plant starts flowering 65 days after sowing during the short-day season, and after 80 days when daylength exceeds 12 hours. With prolonged soil flooding, the otherwise short flowering period can extend to over 2 months[
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.
].
Fruit ripening causes drying and brown discolouration of leaves and stems, ending the growth cycle[
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.
].
An 8-week-old crop grown in a pure stand can accumulate a dry biomass of 4 - 6 tonnes per hectare, with a corresponding nitrogen yield of 80 - 200 kilos, provided sufficient water and soil P are available; 70% or more of this may be the result of biological nitrogen-fixation. As an intercrop, 35 - 60 kilos of nitrogen per hectare can be accumulated[
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.
].
Reported increases in rice grain yield due to the incorporation of a 6 - 8-week-old green manure range from 0.8 - 3.2 tonnes per hectare[
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].
The most distinctive characteristic of Aeschynomene afraspera is the presence of nitrogen-fixing nodules, not only on the roots but also on predetermined, sub-epidermal primordia of adventitious roots on stems and branches. Upon infection with rhizobia via rain splash or insect activity the root primordia can develop into nitrogen-fixing nodules. Since root nodules are scarce under anaerobic conditions in flooded soils, the plant has to rely on stem nodules to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Root primordia on stems become visible in 2-week-old plants, and profuse stem nodulation is apparent 3 - 5 weeks after germination. Up to 400 nodules can be found on the stem of a 2-month-old plant and 70 - 80% of the nitrogen in the biomass is reportedly derived from biological nitrogen fixation, indicating the high efficiency of the symbiosis in stem nodules[
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.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The pith of the stems is astringent and is applied to stop bleeding[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The potential use of this species as a fast-growing nitrogen source for wet-rice fields has only recently been noted. Since the late 1980s it has been widely used as a pre-rice green manure crop on experimental stations and in extension demonstration trials. So far it is only occasionally used by farmers in South and South-East Asia[
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 ability of the plant to form above-ground nodules and to fix nitrogen in waterlogged and marginal soils largely determines its value as a green manure in wet rice[
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.
].
Due to its soft structure, the green manure is easily incorporated into the soil and mineralizes rapidly even under flooded conditions. After 6 - 8 weeks of growth it is ploughed into the soil and the rice is transplanted 1 - 7 days later[
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.
].
In eastern India it is sometimes sown as an intercrop between rows of rice and trampled into the soil before it starts shading the rice[
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.
].
Relay planting has been used successfully to exploit the short fallow period between two rice crops in multiple cropping systems[
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

The pith of the stems is used as insulation material[
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 stems are bouyant and are commonly made into floats[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

The stem can be used for fuel and, when soaked with oil, it can be used as a torch[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a 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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Seeds require high soil moisture or flooded conditions for germination, but more than 2cm of standing water prevents seedling growth[
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.
].
Vegetative propagation is possible using stem cuttings with root primordia. Cuttings 15 - 20cm long from the basal stem show the highest survival rate and best growth.
Vegetative propagation may not be economic for green manure purposes, and is mostly used to establish seed production plants[
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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-02-26. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Aeschynomene+afraspera>

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