Invasive Species Compendium

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Leucaena diversifolia

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Leucaena diversifolia

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Leucaena diversifolia
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • L. diversifolia and its hybrid with L. leucocephala are aggressive colonizers of ruderal sites and secondary or disturbed vegetation in Mexico (the native range). According to

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Medium-sized tree 12 m in height in Chiapas, Mexico.
TitleTree habit
CaptionMedium-sized tree 12 m in height in Chiapas, Mexico.
Copyright©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Medium-sized tree 12 m in height in Chiapas, Mexico.
Tree habitMedium-sized tree 12 m in height in Chiapas, Mexico.©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
L. diversifolia foliage.
TitleFoliage
CaptionL. diversifolia foliage.
CopyrightN.M. Pasiecznik
L. diversifolia foliage.
FoliageL. diversifolia foliage.N.M. Pasiecznik
Flowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles.
TitleLeaves and flowers
CaptionFlowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles.
Copyright©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Flowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles.
Leaves and flowersFlowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles. ©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Close-up of Flowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands (arrowed) and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles.
TitleFlowers
CaptionClose-up of Flowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands (arrowed) and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles.
Copyright©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Close-up of Flowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands (arrowed) and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles.
FlowersClose-up of Flowering shoot of L. diversifolia showing the finely divided bipinnate leaves with small leaflets, prominent petiolar glands (arrowed) and the compact flower heads with pale pink anthers and exserted styles. ©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Bark of L. diversifolia showing characteristic shallow rusty orange-brown vertical fissures.
TitleBark
CaptionBark of L. diversifolia showing characteristic shallow rusty orange-brown vertical fissures.
Copyright©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Bark of L. diversifolia showing characteristic shallow rusty orange-brown vertical fissures.
BarkBark of L. diversifolia showing characteristic shallow rusty orange-brown vertical fissures.©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
TitleRipe seed pods
Caption
Copyright©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Ripe seed pods©Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Leucaena diversifolia (Schltdl.) Benth.

Other Scientific Names

  • Acacia diversifolia Schltdl.
  • Leucaena brachycarpa Urb.
  • Leucaena laxifolia Urb.
  • Leucaena stenocarpa Urb.

Local Common Names

  • Guatemala: chalíp; gnash
  • Jamaica: wild tamarind
  • Mexico: guache; guaje; guaje blanco; guaje del río; guajillo; guashí; sashíbte; Shasíb

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page L. diversifolia and its hybrid with L. leucocephala are aggressive colonizers of ruderal sites and secondary or disturbed vegetation in Mexico (the native range). According to Hughes (1998b), L. diversifolia has all the invasive traits associated with L. leucocephala, e.g. precocious year-round flowering and fruiting, abundant seed production, self-fertility, hard seed coat, and ability to resprout after fire or cutting, ability to build up a seed bank. However, its invasive behaviour is much more poorly documented.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Mimosoideae
  •                                 Genus: Leucaena
  •                                     Species: Leucaena diversifolia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page A new taxonomic monograph of the genus Leucaena has recently been completed (Hughes, 1998a) building on an earlier revision of the Mexican species (Zarate, 1994). Hughes (1998b, 1999) also discusses taxonomy and field identification of Leucaena in detail. In the past, L. diversifolia has been taken to include two subspecies corresponding to known tetraploid and diploid cytotypes (Brewbaker, 1987a; Pan and Brewbaker, 1988; Zárate, 1994; Ipor, 1997), commonly referred to as DIV4N and DIV2N, respectively. Pan (1988) postulated the tetraploid, referred to as subsp. diversifolia, to be an autotetraploid derived from the diploid taxon, referred to as subsp. trichandra (or sometimes subsp. stenocarpa by Zarate, 1994). These two subspecies are more correctly treated as separate species (Hughes, 1998a, 1999). This is based, not only on morphological differences, but also molecular evidence (Harris et al., 1994) which casts doubt on the hypothesis by Pan (1988). The narrower concept of L. diversifolia adopted by Hughes (1998a) corresponds to the tetraploid species (L. diversifolia subsp. diversifolia sensu Pan (1988) and Zarate (1994)), with the diploid taxon restored to species rank as L. trichandra. Most of the applied literature on L. diversifolia over the last two decades (for example, Ipor, 1997) refers to the broader concept of the species including both cytotypes and thus requires careful interpretation. L. diversifolia also resembles, and is closely related to, L. pulverulenta.

Description

Top of page A full botanical description of L. diversifolia is provided by Hughes (1998a). It is a small tree, commonly reaching 3-15 m tall and 10-35 cm in bole diameter; but older trees may reach 20 m tall and 40 cm diameter. Form varies from shrubby and highly branched to more arborescent with a short clear bole to 5 m, upright angular branching and an open, rounded crown. Bark is mid grey-brown with shallow, rusty orange-brown, vertical fissures; slash reddish. Bipinnate with 16-24 pairs of pinnae per leaf and 48-58 pairs of leaflets per pinna. The leaflets are very small, 4-5.5 mm long, 0.8-1 mm wide, linear-oblong, acute at tip, strongly asymmetric, round to obtuse at base and glabrous except on margins, with a concave, cup-shaped, elliptic petiole gland. Arranged on compact globose heads, the flower heads in groups of 1-5 in leaf axils arising on actively growing young shoots, the leaves developing simultaneously with the flowers, the heads 11-15 mm in diameter with 45-90 flowers/head, the stamen filaments, anthers and style white, pale pink, sometimes bright shocking pink, and occasionally bright scarlet, anthers sparsely hairy at tip (visible with a hand lens). Hairy anthers distinguish Leucaena from all other Mimosoid legume genera. Pods 10-13 cm long, 13-16 mm wide, narrow linear-oblong and flat with papery pod walls, mid- to dark reddish-brown, glabrous and slightly lustrous, or densely covered in white velvety hairs, arranged in clusters of 1-6 per flower head.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Woody

Distribution

Top of page L. diversifolia is distributed along a narrow belt at mid elevations on the moist Gulf-facing slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental of central and southern Mexico from Hidalgo south through Veracruz, northern Oaxaca, and Tabasco to northern Chiapas, and the northern fringes of the Guatemalan Department of Huehuetenango on the wet north-facing slopes of the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes. Taxonomic confusion and mis-identification have meant that previous authors have considered L. diversifolia to be much more restricted in distribution than this, occurring only in central Veracruz, around Jalapa (Brewbaker, 1987a; Zarate, 1994). L. diversifolia and its hybrid with L. leucocephala are aggressive colonizers of ruderal sites and secondary or disturbed vegetation in Mexico.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Planted Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
BeninPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
BotswanaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
BurundiPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Cabo VerdePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
CameroonPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)First reported: Late 1800s
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
ChadPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
ComorosPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)First reported: Late 1800s
DjiboutiPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
EgyptPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
EritreaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
EswatiniPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GabonPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GambiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GhanaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GuineaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
KenyaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
LesothoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
LiberiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MadagascarPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MalawiPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MaliPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MozambiquePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
NamibiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
NigerPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
NigeriaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
RwandaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
São Tomé and PríncipePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
SeychellesPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
SomaliaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
South AfricaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
SudanPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
TogoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
UgandaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
ZambiaPresentIntroducedHolden et al. (1988); World Agroforestry Centre (2002)

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
BhutanPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
BruneiPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
CambodiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
IndiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
-HaryanaPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-PunjabPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedDjogo (1994); World Agroforestry Centre (2002)First reported: pre-1900
-Irian JayaPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-JavaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)First reported: Late 1800s
-Maluku IslandsPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-SulawesiPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-SumatraPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
LaosPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
MyanmarPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
NepalPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedGunasena and Wickremasinghe (1995); World Agroforestry Centre (2002)
TaiwanPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
ThailandPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
VietnamPresentIntroducedSampet et al. (1995); World Agroforestry Centre (2002)

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
BahamasPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
BarbadosPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
CubaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
DominicaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GrenadaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GuadeloupePresentWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
GuatemalaPresentNativePlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
HaitiPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
HondurasPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
JamaicaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)First reported: pre 1900
MartiniquePresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)First reported: pre 1900
MexicoPresentNativeInvasivePlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
MontserratPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
NicaraguaPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
PanamaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
United StatesPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedPlantedBray (1986)
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)

South America

BrazilPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)
ColombiaPresentIntroducedPlantedWorld Agroforestry Centre (2002)
EcuadorPresentIntroducedPlantedCABI (Undated)

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page After L. leucocephala, it is the most widely cultivated species of Leucaena (Brewbaker, 1987b; Bray and Sorensson, 1992; Brewbaker and Sorensson, 1994), based largely, until recently, on the widely distributed University of Hawaii, K156 accession from Veracruz, Mexico. L. diversifolia has been introduced outside its native range in historical times to Jamaica, Martinique (from where it was described as L. brachycarpa, see Adams, 1972), the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, usually for use as a shade tree for coffee, and much more widely in international research trials in the last two decades. Wider international planting of L. diversifolia as a reforestation species for wood and livestock fodder, especially in tropical highland areas, is being promoted with large scale seed distribution in some areas, for example Zambia.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page Like the related L. leucocephala, L. diversifolia has been widely introduced ouside its native range and is the second most widely distributed Leucaena species. Although there is little specific literature relating to the invasive behaviour of this species, Hughes (1998) considered it to have "all the invasive traits of L. leucocephala" and it is therefore anticipated to be reported invasive in the future. A further risk is the tendancy of this species, like L. leucocephala, to form spontaneous hybrids (Hughes, 1998b).

Habitat

Top of page L. diversifolia is a highland species, native to the humid mid-elevation flanks of the mountains of southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. L. diversifolia and its hybrid with L. leucocephala are aggressive colonizers of ruderal sites and secondary or disturbed vegetation in the native range.

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

L. diversifolia is a self-compatible tetraploid of probable hybrid origin. Harris et al. (1994) showed that the most likely maternal parent species is L. pulverulenta but the paternal parent remains uncertain. Until recently, L. diversifolia was considered to occupy a restricted distribution in central Veracruz, Mexico (Brewbaker, 1987b; Pan, 1988; Pan and Brewbaker, 1988; Zarate, 1994; Ipor, 1997). Efforts to evaluate the potential of L. diversifolia were restricted to accessions collected from that restricted area, with two accessions, K156 and K784, both collected near Fortín in Veracruz, Mexico noted as outstanding. Recent taxonomic work (Hughes, 1998b) has shown that L. diversifolia is much more widely distributed than originally thought, across five States in south-central Mexico and in northern Guatemala. More comprehensive provenance seed collections sampled from across this wider distribution have now been assembled (Hughes et al., 1995; Bray et al., 1997; Hughes, 1998b), but it is too early to draw conclusions about patterns of provenance variation based on the handful of trials that include this new material.

Artificial hybridization has been the main thrust of breeding efforts in Leucaena, used to overcome the limitations of L. leucocephala and its inherent lack of genetic and useful diversity (Brewbaker and Sorensson, 1990). L. leucocephala has been the most important parent in hybrid programmes. The L. leucocephala x L. diversifolia hybrid also occurs spontaneously wherever the two species are juxtaposed in cultivation, and is documented from Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Martinique, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea (Hughes, 1998a, 1998b; Hughes and Harris, 1998). Hughes and Harris (1998) named it as L. xspontanea. KX3, or L. x spontanea, and like its parents, it is self-fertile, seeds copiously, is fast growing and potentially weedy (Hughes and Jones, 1999), and intermediate in psyllid resistance and fodder quality between L. leucocephala and L. diversifolia.

Physiology and Phenology

L. diversifolia is self-fertile and produces prodigious quantities of seed from an early age, seasonally in the native range from April to June (Hughes, 1998a).

Reproductive Biology

As a self-compatible tetraploid, L. diversifolia sets prodigious quantities of seed from an early age and is potentially weedy (Ipor, 1997; Hughes, 1998b; Hughes and Jones, 1999). There are between 50,000 and 80,000 seed/kg. It is also one of the most important parents in spontaneous and artificial hybridization (Brewbaker and Sorensson, 1994; Sorensson and Brewbaker, 1994; Sorensson, 1995; Hughes, 1998b; Hughes and Harris, 1998; Austin et al., 1999).

Environmental Requirements

One of the most notable features of L. diversifolia is its cool tolerance compared with the pantropically planted and essentially tropical species, L. leucocephala. L. diversifolia is well adapted to cool, but frost-free, mid-elevation, tropical highland climates, and has out-yielded L. leucocephala on cool highland sites with a mean annual temperature of 16°C in Hawaii (Brewbaker, 1982; Brewbaker and Sorensson, 1987; Brewbaker et al., 1988; Austin et al., 1997), Jamaica (Adams, 1972), Zimbabwe (Maasdorp, 1992), India (Khajuria and Singh, 1991), Sri Lanka (Gunasena and Wickremasinghe, 1995) Papua New Guinea (Howcroft, 1994) and elsewhere (Ipor, 1997; Mullen et al., 1999a). In Mexico and Guatemala, the natural distribution coincides with the optimal coffee growing zone along a narrow belt, between 400 and 1500 m altitude, of moist or very moist submontane evergreen forest, subject to frequent mist and cloud cover along the Gulf-facing slopes from 16-21°N. Mean annual temperatures in these areas range from 15-21°C and rainfall from 1500 to 3500 mm with a short, 2-4 month dry season (Hughes, 1998a, b). L. diversifolia thus grows well in cool, moist, stable climates, and is ideally suited to the tropical highlands. It does not withstand frost (Williams, 1987), limiting its use in subtropical areas.

Several studies have cited L. diversifolia as one of a handful of Leucaena species showing moderate acid soil tolerance compared with L. leucocephala, which grows well only on freely-drained, neutral, or slightly alkaline soils (Hutton, 1981, 1983, 1990, 1995; Oakes and Foy, 1984; Holden et al., 1988). However, most of these reports refer to the diploid cytotype, now referred to L. trichandra, rather than to the truly tetraploid L. diversifolia. Furthermore, although true L. diversifolia does show somewhat greater acid soil tolerance than L. leucocephala, there is now a general consensus that significant acid soil tolerance is likely to be difficult to achieve within Leucaena even through breeding, and that other genera such as Calliandra, Desmodium, Erythrina, Flemingia and Inga may provide better options for such areas (Blamey and Hutton, 1995; Hughes, 1998b; Mullen et al., 1999a). It is commonly found between 500 m and 2500 m altitude.

Associations

L. diversifolia has the ability to form a symbiotic association with Rhizobium root nodule bacteria, which are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
21 15 500 2500

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 23
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 28
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10 16

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall15003500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Lenne (1991) and Boa and Lenne (1995) reviewed pests and diseases of Leucaena. The most important pest of commercial plantings is the insect defoliator, Heteropsylla cubana. Two important diseases caused by fungal pathogens, Camptomeris leaf spot and gummosis, have been reported, and a set of lesser-known rusts and other diseases of currently minor importance are listed by Boa and Lenne (1995) and Ipor (1997). A range of seed-feeding bruchid and other beetles predate seeds of Leucaena species (Hughes and Johnson, 1996; Hughes, 1998b).

The psyllid defoliator, H. cubana feeds on developing shoots and young foliage causing limited tree mortality, severe and cyclical defoliation, deformation, stunting and dieback. The psyllid is a classic example of a pest catching up with an exotic after many years of pest-free existence, through its accidental movement to a new area (Beardsley, 1986) and is spreading across Asia and Africa (Bray, 1994; Djogo, 1994; Sampet et al., 1995; Geiger et al., 1995; Mullen et al., 1999b). Since the psyllid first started spreading in 1984, a considerable research effort has been mobilized to examine the problem and provide options for its control and management (Withington et al., 1987; Napompeth and MacDicken, 1990; Ciesla and Nshubemuki, 1995). General overviews of the psyllid problem were provided by Napompeth (1990), Bray (1994) and Geiger et al. (1995) and of the biology of H. cubana by Beardsley (1986), Waterhouse and Norris (1987), Hodkinson (1989) and Muddiman et al. (1992). The dramatic spread of the psyllid westward from Central America in 1985 to almost encircle the globe within a decade is documented in detail by Muddiman et al. (1992) and Bray (1994). Attempts to document and quantify the impact of psyllid damage have been made by Mella et al. (1990) and Oka (1990).

The possibility of identifying and using psyllid-resistant genetic material within Leucaena was proposed by Bray and Sands (1987), Sorensson and Brewbaker (1987) and Bray (1994) as one option to deal with the psyllid problem, alongside other measures such as biocontrol (reviewed by Mitchell, 1987; Nakahara et al., 1987; McClay, 1990; Waage, 1990). The possibility of using psyllid resistant species directly or through hybridization was discussed by Bray et al. (1990). Numerous studies have shown that L. diversifolia is moderately psyllid resistant (Sorensson and Brewbaker, 1984, 1986, 1987; Bray and Woodroffe, 1988; Wheeler, 1988; Wheeler and Brewbaker, 1989, 1990; Mullen et al., 1999b). However, there appears to be considerable variation in psyllid resistance among accessions within L. diversifolia, ranging from highly resistant to highly susceptible, with the widely planted K156 accession among the most susceptible (Mullen et al., 1999b).

Camptomeris leaf spot is caused by Camptomeris leucaenae. Camptomeris causes black spots or patches on the underside of the leaflets and chlorosis, loss of leaflets or whole leaves, and some dieback often associated with secondary pathogens (Lenne, 1980). It is a potentially serious disease of L. leucocephala causing reduced forage yields and quality particularly in areas with >2000 mm rainfall (Lenne, 1980, 1991). Although Camptomeris is reported as a disease of L. diversifolia by Ipor (1997), initial indications from trials in Colombia are that L. diversifolia, is more resistant to Camptomeris than L. leucocephala (Lenne, 1980; Moreno et al., 1987). Ipor (1997) notes gummosis as an important disease of L. diversifolia. The cause of gummosis remains uncertain, but appears to be a canker caused by a fungus in the genus Fusarium.

High proportions of seeds of L. diversifolia in Latin America are eaten by four different bruchid beetle species in the genus Acanthoscelides (Hughes and Johnson, 1996; Hughes, 1998b). So far only one of these bruchid species, Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus, has been accidentally introduced outside Latin America (for example in Australia, Jones, 1996), but deliberate introduction for biocontrol of weedy L. leucocephala is being considered in South Africa (Neser, 1994, 1996). Outside Latin America, other seed beetles may also heavily predate Leucaena seeds. Amongst these records, it appears that seeds of L. diversifolia are more resistant to Araecerus levipennis in Hawaii and Araecerus fasciculatus in the Philippines (Braza and Salise, 1988; Ipor, 1997) than L. leucocephala.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page No specific information on the movement and dispersal of L. diversifolia seeds is available, but it may be assumed that these are similar to those for the closely related L. leucocephala.

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production None
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

Top of page L. diversifolia can be used for soil improvement, soil conservation and erosion control in diverse agroforestry combinations and systems including alley farming, live-barriers on terrace boundaries, shelterbelts or windbreaks, or simply as dispersed trees over crops, in similar ways to its better known relative L. leucocephala. L. diversifolia leaves are very small and fragile and decompose quickly (with a 7-day nitrogen half-life) providing a very rapid, short-term influx of nutrients. However, because they decompose so rapidly, they have little value as mulch for weed control, which is widely recognized as one of the main benefits of alley farming, particularly in the humid tropics. L. diversifolia can also be used in wider land rehabilitation and re-vegetation efforts. Weediness is likely to be a problem in many agricultural situations or in land rehabilitation (Hughes, 1998b; Hughes and Jones, 1999).

The wood of L. diversifolia is broadly similar to that of L. leucocephala, the properties of which have been thoroughly investigated and documented (Bawagan, 1983; Pound and Martinez-Cairo, 1983; van den Beldt and Brewbaker, 1985). Most authors have emphasised the potential to use Leucaena wood for a wide range of products including domestic and industrial fuel, including dendrothermal energy generation, poles, posts, sawn timber, furniture, parquet flooring, particle board and pulp. However, the potential to use L. diversifolia for saw timber is greatly limited by its generally small dimensions, usually not greater than 30 cm diameter, its branchiness, which limits lengths of clear bole available and means wood is often knotty, and its high proportion of juvenile wood. Nevertheless, there is growing use of small dimension sawnwood in a number of industries, such as flooring, which might include L. diversifolia in the future. In practice, the wood is primarily used for fuelwood and charcoal for domestic household or local industrial (lime or pottery kilns) use, and for small dimension poles. Use of short-rotation L. diversifolia for poles is limited by lack of durability and susceptibility to attack by termites and wood borers. L. diversifolia provides fuelwood and charcoal of acceptable, although not the highest, quality and it is a popular fuel, often competing with alternative local species in areas where fuelwood is in short supply (NAS, 1984) but not with the higher quality fuelwoods obtained from species of Acacia or Prosopis.

Compared with L. leucocephala, leaves of L. diversifolia have lower nutritive value in terms of lower palatability, digestibility, intake and crude protein content, and higher condensed tannin content (Stewart and Dunsdon, 1998; Dalzell et al., 1999; Faint et al., 1999), resulting in lower animal production (Jones et al., 1999). However, it must be remembered that L. leucocephala is one of the foremost, highest quality and most palatable tropical fodder trees, often being described as the 'alfalfa of the tropics' (Jones, 1979, 1994; Pound and MartInez-Cairo, 1983; NAS, 1984; Bray, 1986; Brewbaker, 1987b, Shelton and Brewbaker, 1994). Leaf quality of L. leucocephala compares favourably with lucerne (Medicago sativa) in feed value except for its higher tannin content (Jones, 1979) and mimosine toxicity to non-ruminants (Bray, 1995). Thus, although not as high quality as L. leucocephala, L. diversifolia may still provide an acceptable livestock fodder with high crude protein content.

Leaves of Leucaena species have also been widely used for green manure in cropping systems. The value of Leucaena leaf litter as a fertilizer from trees maintained over crops is recognized by farmers in Central America, Indonesia and the Philippines (Dijkman, 1950). In parts of Jamaica, Indonesia and the Philippines, L. diversifolia has been used for several decades as a shade tree over tea or coffee with widely recognized benefits in terms of soil fertility. L. diversifolia is likely to have potential in alley farming. Its leaves are fragile and decompose quickly providing a very rapid, short-term influx of nutrients related to a low carbon/nitrogen ratio but little value as mulch for weed control which is widely recognized as one of the main benefits of alley farming, particularly in the humid tropics.

Wood Products

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Charcoal

Roundwood

  • Building poles
  • Posts
  • Stakes

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Flooring
  • For light construction

Wood-based materials

  • Particleboard

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page It is easily differentiated from the common L. leucocephala by its very small and more numerous leaflets.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

No specific information on the control of L. diversifolia is available, but it may be assumed that control methods used for the closely related L. leucocephala may be suitable.

References

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Adams CD, 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica. Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies.

Austin MT; Early RJ; Brewbaker JL; Sun W, 1997. Yield, psyllid resistance, and phenolic concentration of Leucaena in two environments in Hawaii. Agronomy Journal 89:507-515.

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Austin MT; Williams MJ; Hammond AC; Chambliss CG, 1991. Cattle preference ratings for eight Leucaena spp. in Florida. Leucaena Research Reports, 12:109-110; 5 ref.

Bawagan PV, 1983. Research on Leucaena wood at the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), Philippines. In: Leucaena Research in the Asian-Pacific Region. Proceedings of a Workshop, Singapore. Ottawa, Canada: International Development Research Centre, 119-122.

Beardsley JW, 1986. Psyllidae or jumping plant lice: notes on biology and control. Leucpna Research Reports, 7:2-5

Blamey FPC; Hutton EM, 1995. Tolerance of Leucaena to acid soil conditions. In: Shelton HM, Piggin CM, Brewbaker JL, eds. Leucaena - Opportunities and Limitations. Proceedings of a Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings No. 57, 83-86.

Boa ER; Lenné JM, 1995. Diseases and pests of Leucaena. In: Shelton HM, Piggin CM, Brewbaker JL, eds. Leucaena - Opportunities and Limitations. Proceedings of a Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings No. 57, 129-134.

Boa ER; Lenne JM, 1995. Diseases and pests of Leucaena. In: Shelton HM, Piggin CM, Brewbaker JL, eds. Leucaena - Opportunities and Limitations. Proceedings of a Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings No. 57, 129-134.

Bray RA, 1986. Leucaena in northern Australia - a review. Forest Ecology and Management, 16(1-4):345-354; 8 ref.

Bray RA, 1987. Genetic control options for psyllid resistance in leucpna. Leucpna Research Reports, 7(2):32-34

Bray RA, 1994. Diversity within tropical tree and shrub legumes. Forage tree legumes in tropical agriculture., 111-119; 21 ref.

Bray RA, 1995. Possibilities for developing low mimosine lines. In: Shelton HM, Piggin CM, Brewbaker JL, eds. Leucaena - Opportunities and Limitations. Proceedings of a Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings No. 57, 119-124.

Bray RA; Hughes CE; Brewbaker JL; Hanson J; Thomas BD; Ortiz A, 1997. The World Leucaena Catalogue. Brisbane, Australia: University of Queensland.

Bray RA; Julien MH; Room PM, 1990. Leucaena psyllid in Australia - the current situation. In: Napompeth B, MacDicken KG, eds. Leucaena Psyllid: Problems and Management. Proceedings of a Workshop in Bogor Indonesia. Arkansas, USA: Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, 8-11.

Bray RA; Sands DPA, 1987. Arrival of the leucpna psyllid in Australia: impact, dispersal and natural enemies. Leucpna Research Reports, 7(2):61-65

Bray RA; Sorensson CT, 1992. Leucaena diversifolia - fast growing highland NFT species. NFT Highlights, No. 92-05:2 pp.; 10 ref.

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Brewbaker JL, 1987. Leucaena: a multipurpose tree genus for tropical agroforestry. In: Steppler HA, Nair PKR, eds. Agroforestry: a decade of development. Nairobi, Kenya: International Council for Research in Agroforestry, 289-323; 93 ref.

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Brewbaker JL; Sorensson CT, 1987. Leucpna diversifolia and its hybrids for the highlands. Leucpna Research Reports, 8:66-67

Brewbaker JL; Sorensson CT, 1990. Leucaena: new tree crops from interspecific Leucaena hybrids. In: Janick J, Simon J, eds. Advances in New Crops. Proceedings of the first National Symposium on New Crops Research, Development and Economics. Oregon, USA: Timber Press.

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Hughes CE, 1999. Taxonomy of Leucaena. In: Shelton HM, Gutteridge RC, Mullen BF, Bray RA eds. Leucaena - adaptation, quality and farming systems. Proceedings of a Workshop, Hanoi, Vietnam, February 1998. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings 86, 27-38.

Hughes CE; Harris SA, 1998. A second spontaneous hybrid in Leucaena (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 212:53-77.

Hughes CE; Johnson CD, 1996. New host records and notes on Bruchidae (Coleoptera) from Leucaena Benth. (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae) from Mexico, Central and South America. Journal of Applied Entomology, 120(3):137-141; 19 ref.

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Hutton EM, 1981. Natural crossing and acid tolerance in some Leucaena species. Leucaena Research Reports, recd. 1986, 2: 2-4.

Hutton EM, 1983. Selection and breeding of Leucaena for very acid soils. Leucaena research in the Asian Pacific region, 23-26.

Hutton EM, 1990. Field selection of acid-soil tolerant leucaena from L. leucocephala X L. diversifolia crosses in a tropical Oxisol. Tropical Agriculture, 67(1):2-8; 10 ref.

Hutton EM, 1995. Very acid soil constraints for tree legumes like Leucaena and selection and breeding to overcome them. In Evans DO, Szott LT eds. Nitrogen-fixing trees for acid soils. Proceedings of a workshop, CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica. Nitrogen-Fixing Tree Reports. Special Issue, 258-264.

Ipor IB, 1997. Leucaena diversifolia (Schlecht.) Benth. In Faridah Hanum I, van der Maesen LJG Eds. Plant resources of south-east Asia. No. 11 Auxiliary Plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher.

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Jones RJ, 1994. Management of anti-nutritive factors - with special reference to leucaena. Forage tree legumes in tropical agriculture., 216-231; 38 ref.

Jones RJ, 1996. Leucaena bruchid beetle now in Australia. LEUCNET News, 3:14.

Jones RJ; Brewbaker JL; Sorensson CT, 1992. Leucaena leucocephala. In: Mannetje L, Jones RM, eds. Plant Resources of south-east Asia, No. 4. Forages. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific, 150-154.

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Khajuria HN; Singh A, 1991. Leucaena diversifolia - a potential species for the subtropics. Leucaena Research Reports, 12:45-46.

Lenné JM, 1980. Camptomeris leaf spot on Leucaena spp. in Colombia. Plant Disease, 64:414-415.

Lenné JM, 1991. Diseases of Leucaena species. Tropical Pest Management, 37:281-289.

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Maasdorp BV, 1992. Adaptation of the genus Leucaena to high altitude, sub-humid conditions in Zimbabwe. In Maghembe JA, Prins H, Brett DA eds. Agroforestry research in southern Africa. Workshop Proceedings. Nairobi, Kenya: ICRAF.

McClay AS, 1990. Distribution of the Leucaena psyllid and its natural enemies in Mexico: implications for biological control. In: Napompeth B, MacDicken KG, eds. Leucaena Psyllid: Problems and Management. Proceedings of a Workshop in Bogor Indonesia. Arkansas, USA: Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, 139-143.

Mella P; Zaingo M; Janing M, 1990. Resistance of Leucaena and some other tree legumes to Heteropsylla cubana in West Timor, Indonesia. In: Napompeth B, MacDicken KG, eds. Leucaena Psyllid: Problems and Management. Proceedings of a Workshop in Bogor Indonesia. Arkansas, USA: Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, 56-61.

Mitchell W, 1987. Concepts of pest control - integrated pest management and biological control. Leucaena Research Reports, 7(2):21-28.

Moreno J; Torres CG; Lenné JM, 1987. Reconocimiento y evaluación de enfermedades de Leucaena en el Valle de Cauca, Colombia. Pasturas Tropicales- Boletín (CIAT, Colombia), 9:30-35.

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Distribution References

Bray R A, 1986. Leucaena in northern Australia - a review. In: Forest Ecology and Management, 16 (1-4) 345-354. DOI:10.1016/0378-1127(86)90032-0

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Djogo A P Y, 1994. The use of forest tree legumes in Timor, Indonesia. In: Forage tree legumes in tropical agriculture. [ed. by Gutteridge R C, Shelton H M]. Wallingford, UK: CAB INTERNATIONAL. 374-380.

Gunasena HPM, Wickremasinghe IP, 1995. Leucaena in Sri Lanka. In: Leucaena - Opportunities and Limitations [Proceedings of a Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia], 57 [ed. by Shelton HM, Piggin CM, Brewbaker JL]. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings. 196-198.

Holden S, Lungu S, Solberg K H, 1988. Biomass yield of Leucaena cultivars in northern Zambia. Leucaena Research Reports. 138-140.

Sampet C, van den Beldt RJ, Pattaro V, 1995. Leucaena in Vietnam. In: Leucaena - Opportunities and Limitations [Proceedings of a Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia], [ed. by Shelton HM, Piggin CM, Brewbaker JL]. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR Proceedings No. 57. 199-201.

World Agroforestry Centre, 2002. Agroforestree Database., Nairobi, Kenya: ICRAF. http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/Sites/TreeDBS/AFT/AFT.htm

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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