Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Sesbania grandiflora
(sesbania)

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Datasheet

Sesbania grandiflora (sesbania)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 03 January 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Sesbania grandiflora
  • Preferred Common Name
  • sesbania
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. grandiflora is an important agroforestry species for food, green manure, fodder, forage, pulp and paper, especially in South and South East Asia. It is a very fast growing, nitrogen-fixing and moderately dro...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
TitleTree bearing flowers
Caption
CopyrightI.P. Wickramasinghe
Tree bearing flowersI.P. Wickramasinghe
TitleFlowers and foliage
Caption
Copyright©A.R. Pittaway
Flowers and foliage©A.R. Pittaway
TitleCompound leaf, flowers and pod
Caption
CopyrightI.P. Wickramasinghe
Compound leaf, flowers and podI.P. Wickramasinghe
Flower, showing calyx, petals, stamens and style.
TitleLine artwork
CaptionFlower, showing calyx, petals, stamens and style.
CopyrightI.P. Wickramasinghe
Flower, showing calyx, petals, stamens and style.
Line artworkFlower, showing calyx, petals, stamens and style.I.P. Wickramasinghe
Twig showing foliage and flowers
TitleLine artwork
CaptionTwig showing foliage and flowers
CopyrightI.P. Wickramasinghe
Twig showing foliage and flowers
Line artworkTwig showing foliage and flowersI.P. Wickramasinghe

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Pers.

Preferred Common Name

  • sesbania

Other Scientific Names

  • Aeschynomene grandiflora (L.) L.
  • Agati grandiflora (L.) Desv.
  • Robinia grandiflora L.
  • Sesban grandiflorus Poir.

International Common Names

  • English: agati sesbania; corkwood tree; hummingbird tree; scarlet wistaria-tree; scarlet wisteria; sesban; vegetable-humming bird; West Indian pea
  • Spanish: cresta de gallo; gallito
  • French: agati a grandes fleurs; fagotier

Local Common Names

  • Bahamas: flamingo bill
  • Bangladesh: agasta; agati; bak; bokphul; buko
  • China: da hua tian jing
  • French Polynesia: afai; ofai; ouai; oufai
  • Germany: Turibaum
  • Guyana: August flower
  • India: agathi; agathio; agati; bagphal; bak; basna; chogache; hadga
  • Indonesia: tiger tongue; toroy; turi; tuwi
  • Italy: sesbania
  • Malaysia: kacang turi; petai belalang; sesban getih; turi
  • Mexico: pico de flamenco
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: pakphul
  • Nepal: agasthi
  • Northern Mariana Islands: caturay; katurai
  • Palau: katurai
  • Philippines: gauai-gauai; katudang; katurai; pan
  • Samoa: sepania
  • Sri Lanka: kathuru murunga
  • Thailand: khae; khae-ban; ton kae
  • USA/Hawaii: ohai ke'oke'o
  • Vietnam: so dua

EPPO code

  • SEBGR (Sesbania grandiflora)

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. grandiflora is an important agroforestry species for food, green manure, fodder, forage, pulp and paper, especially in South and South East Asia. It is a very fast growing, nitrogen-fixing and moderately drought resistant tree, widely planted for land rehabilitation, on the rice bunds, in home gardens, and along roadsides and in and around homesteads. However, it has escaped cultivation, as with other introduced sesbanias such as S. cannabina, S. sericea, S. sesban and S. punicea. S. grandiflora is reported as invasive on many Pacific islands, the Philippines and the Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Faboideae
  •                                 Genus: Sesbania
  •                                     Species: Sesbania grandiflora

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The legume genus Sesbania is placed in the Fabaceae family (USDA-ARS, 2014). The genus comprises about 50-60 species of herbs, shrubs, or small trees (Mabberley, 1997) distributed in tropical and subtropical regions in the Old and New Worlds. There are four subgenera of which Sesbania and Agati are of agricultural value.

The centre of diversity of this genus is in Africa, where more than 30 species occur (Masrahi et al., 2012). The subgenus Sesbania is important in Africa, and it has a large number of species, with more annuals and shrub types. Some of the most agriculturally important species are from subgenus Agate, found mainly in South and South East Asia where many are perennial tree types (Noses Onim and Dzowela, 1988).

S. grandiflora, native to tropical Asia, is closely related to S. formosa from northern Australia (Burbidge, 1965). Both are in the subfamily Papilonoideae (Faboideae) and the tribe Robinieae. The correct naming authority is (L.) Pers. (The Plant List, 2014), although others such as (L.) Poir. are still used (e.g. USDA-ARS, 2014). A number of the most common synonyms are included here, but many others are listed in ILDIS (2014).

Some authors have ranked the red flowered and white flowered forms as a distinct species or varieties, though they are now considered to be conspecific (ILDIS, 2014), though Bailey (1971) distinguishes another unnamed variety.

Description

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S. grandiflora is a fast growing, medium-size tree 4-10 m tall but reaching up to 15 m, with trunk diameters to 25-30 cm, open-branched with drooping branches. The bark is deeply furrowed, forming thick, soft, cork-like plates, grey, pink or whitish in colour. The inner bark is slightly bitter to the taste. Branches terete, leaf scars and stipule scars conspicuous. Stipules obliquely lanceolate, to 8 mm, caducous. The leaves are alternate and compound, pinnate, 15-(20-30)-40 cm long with 20-50(-60), glabrescent but densely appressed pubescent when young, and petiolules 1-2 mm. Each leaf has terete rachis and acerose stipels, and pairs of oblong rounded leaflets 1.2-5.0 cm long and 0.5-1.6 mm wide, smaller at both ends of rachis than in middle, both surfaces with or without dense appressed purplish brown glands and appressed villous but glabrescent, secondary veins 7 or 8 on each side of midvein but inconspicuous, base rounded to broadly cuneate, apex obtuse to retuse and with a mucro. The leaves are borne on the ends of branches, and turn bright yellow before being shed. Inflorescences and racemes 4-7 cm, pendulous, 2-5-flowered, bract and bracteoles ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 7-10 mm, caducous, both surfaces appressed pubescent, hang at the leaf base and may be pink, red, yellowish or white. Individual flowers are 5-10 cm long, curved and about 30 mm wide before opening. Flowers are produced in short axillary racemes. Calyx bell-shaped, 2 cm long, slightly 2 lobed with 5 shallow teeth; corolla 5 white or red fleshy petals, stalked at base, oblong spreading standard shorter than others and curved back, 2 curved wings, 2 united curved inside petals; 10 curved stamens, 9 united and one separate, pistil with very narrow stalked ovary and slender style. The pods are long (20-60 cm) and narrow (6-9 mm), hanging, flat, septate, with swollen margins containing about 15 to 50 red-brown seeds.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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S. grandiflora is considered by Gutteridge (1994) to be native to South and South East Asian countries, including India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar. However, ILDIS (2014) considers that the native range is restricted to Malaysia and Indonesia, although the status in neighbouring countries is left ambiguous.

Until fairly recently, the cultivation of S. grandiflora has been restricted to South and South East Asia. It is now cultivated throughout most of the tropics, i.e. southern Mexico to South America; in Florida and Hawaii; and in West Africa for at least 140 years, and more recently in East Africa ('t Mannetje and Jones, 1992).

In Fiji, it is report to be occasionally naturalized near sea level and around gardens and villages, and in New Caledonia, it is fairly common in gardens and sometimes spontaneous in surrounding areas (PIER, 2014). The white-flowered form is naturalizing around locations where it has been planted in American Samoa (Space and Flynn, 2000), and it appears to be naturalizing extensively in Samoa (Space and Flynn, 2002). It is present in the Caribbean, but reported to be naturalized only in Puerto Rico (Kairo et al., 2003).

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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
CambodiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Chagos ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
ChinaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2014; PIER, 2014
-FujianPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-HainanPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
-Hong KongPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
-YunnanPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
IndiaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-AssamPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-BiharPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-DelhiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-GoaPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2014
-GujaratPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-Indian PunjabPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-KeralaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-ManipurPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-MeghalayaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-MizoramPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-NagalandPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-OdishaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-RajasthanPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-SikkimPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2014
-TripuraPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-West BengalPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
IndonesiaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-JavaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
-KalimantanPresent Planted
-SulawesiPresent Planted
-SumatraPresentPlanted, Natural
LaosPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
MalaysiaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-SabahPresent Planted
-SarawakPresent Planted
MaldivesPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
MyanmarPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalILDIS, 2014
NepalPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
OmanPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
PakistanPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2014; PIER, 2014
SingaporePresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2014
TaiwanPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
ThailandPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2014
TurkeyPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
VietnamPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
YemenPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014

Africa

BeninPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
Cape VerdePresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
ChadPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
DjiboutiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2014
GabonPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
GhanaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
MadagascarPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
MalawiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2014
MayottePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
NigeriaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
RéunionPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
SenegalPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
SeychellesPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
SomaliaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
SudanPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Planted GBIF, 2014
USAPresentIntroducedPresent based on regional distribution
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Planted USDA-ARS, 2014
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted PIER, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
BahamasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
BelizePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
CubaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedKairo et al., 2013
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
HondurasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Planted Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014
MartiniquePresentIntroducedKairo et al., 2013
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
PanamaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Planted USDA-ARS, 2014
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresent Planted
Trinidad and TobagoPresent Planted
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014

South America

BrazilPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014
ColombiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2014

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
AustraliaPresentIntroducedPresent based on regional distribution
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
GuamPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
PalauPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted PIER, 2014
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
Wake IslandPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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It was introduced to the Pacific in the 1990s, where it showed promising results in trials in western Samoa and the Solomon Islands (Gutteridge, 1994), and was reported to be naturalized there in 2002 (Space and Flynn, 2002). It is likely that more records regarding introduction as part of tree species trials could indicate other dates of introduction.

Risk of Introduction

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Where it is cultivated as an ornamental, it has a tendency to naturalize and thus poses a threat of local dispersal. Being a highly valued tree and on lists of promising fast growing legume trees for agroforestry, further intentional introduction is also likely. However, it was classified as only a low risk species in a risk assessment for the Pacific (PIER, 2014).

Habitat

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S. grandiflora is found in a range of sites and different habitats, but is most common in its native range in forest edges and on disturbed ground, but also common as an ornamental, and in and around farmsteads. Where introduced, it has tended to spread as an escape from where initially planted.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number of S. grandiflora is 2n = 24 (Jacob, 1941; Salimuddin and Ramesh, 1993).

Reproductive Biology

S. grandiflora seeds are hard-coated with no inherent dormancy, and will germinate soon after imbibition occurs when moisture is available (Graaff and van Staden, 1984). As with other Sesbania spp., reproduction is entirely sexual, although rootstocks can be transplanted manually with some success. Flowers are pollinated by generalist insect pollinators, usually bees (Evans and Rotar, 1987), and give rise to clusters of seed pods on the stalks of the inflorescences. Some pods dehisce while still hanging on the trees and expel their seeds, but most of the pods dislodge from the plants while still intact and containing seeds. Long-range dispersal of seeds occurs through the buoyant water-borne pods being carried downstream and seeds are released as the pods become weathered and disintegrate.

Physiology and Phenology

Members of the genus Sesbania are known for exceptionally fast growth rates, as well as a very high affinity for association with several nitrogen-fixing Rhizobia in the soil that cause the formation of numerous, large nodules in the plant roots (Noses Onim and Dzowela, 1988). Nitrogen-fixation enables these plants to grow vigorously on nutrient deficient soils. Consequently, many Sesbania species including S. cannabina, S. grandiflora, S. exalta, S. sesban and S. sericea have been used extensively in agroforestry as fodder, green manure and soil-improver plants (Ipor and Oyen, 1997).

S. grandiflora is light-demanding and has extremely fast growth rates. It is somewhat drought resistant, although will not survive in very dry conditions unless irrigated. It is sensitive to low temperatures and will not tolerate frost. S. grandiflora will coppice and pollard, but it will not survive repeated cutting (Ella et al., 1989). Roots tend to be shallow, with numerous pinkish nodules containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and S. grandiflora nodulates heavily in most soils.

Flowering commonly occurs between December and February, seeds ripening in April-May, though natural regeneration of S. grandiflora is rarely seen, and it is generally known almost exclusively as a cultivated tree. S. grandiflora can be cultivated by direct sowing, or by the planting of bare-rooted seedlings and polythene bag container seedlings. There are 16,000-17,000 seeds/kg. Seeds are orthodox, remaining viable for more than one year under ordinary storage conditions, and do not require any pre-treatment (Evans et al., 1990). Seeds start to germinate within 3 days of sowing, with up to 80% germination within one week from sowing (Luna, 1996).

Environmental Requirements

S. grandiflora is well adapted to hot, humid climates, although it can be grown in more sub-humid regions and can tolerate drought. However, it is a lowland species (up to 800 m altitude) and lacks tolerance of cool temperatures (<10°C). It thrives in areas with an annual rainfall of 2000-4000 mm, and with no dry season or a short dry season. However, it can also grow when the rainfall is as low as 80 mm per month (Evans et al., 1990) and in other semi-arid climates, such as on Timor, Indonesia. In arid areas, it needs irrigation to survive. It is often grown in kitchen gardens, compounds or backyards where it can be irrigated with waste water. Under these conditions, S. grandiflora is widely grown even in arid regions (Hocking, 1993). A modified description of climatic requirements was prepared by CSIRO (Booth and Jovanovic, 2000).

S. grandiflora grows on a wide range of soils, and even poor soils are generally satisfactory for its growth. When grown in poor soils, nodulation and subsequent nitrogen fixation help to restore soil fertility, indicating that S. grandiflora has good soil improvement qualities. It can grow in waterlogged areas, although it prefers well-drained, deep, sandy loam soils. It is well-adapted to alkaline and saline conditions (Hansen and Munns, 1985). It has also shown some tolerance of acid conditions down to pH 4.5 ('t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). S. grandiflora grown in loamy soils have reached 3.2 m tall in 9 months, whereas in nutrient-poor, sandy soils the height was only 1.8 m over the same period (Luna, 1996).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
20 10 0 800

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 6
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 18 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 24 35
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 18 22

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall804000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline
  • shallow

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Adelphocoris lineolatus
Bactrocera cucurbitae
Erythricium salmonicolor
Eurema hecabe
Megalurothrips distalis
Mesoplatys cincta
Spodoptera litura

Notes on Natural Enemies

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S. grandiflora and S. sesban were attacked by Ceroplastodes spp. following their introduction to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, being the first record of this insect on Sesbania spp. (Shah et al., 1989).

A number of other species have also been reported, including Adelphocoris lineolatus (lucerne bug), Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly), Erythricium salmonicolor (damping off), Eurema hecabe (common grass yellow), Megalurothrips distalis, Mesoplatys cincta and Spodoptera litura (taro caterpillar).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Pods and seeds are likely to be dispersed by water after rains or flooding. In some other Sesbania species, water is considered the principal means of seed dispersal.

Vector Transmission (biotic)

No information was available for S. grandiflora, but in S. punicea, the other arborescent sesbania, the propagules have no specific adaptations for biotic dispersal, and seeds are toxic and not attractive to birds or animals.

Intentional Introduction

Being a highly valued tree and on lists of promising fast growing legume trees for agroforestry, it has been widely introduced, and further intentional introduction is also likely.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes
Forestry Yes Yes
Hedges and windbreaks Yes
Landscape improvement Yes Yes
Nursery trade Yes Yes
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Water Yes

Environmental Impact

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S. grandiflora has been widely introduced and planted for soils conservation and soil improvement, thus noted as having positive environmental impacts. However, where it has become invasive, primarily on Pacific islands, it tends to form monocultures and outcompete native plant species. It is also noted to have allelopathic effects on crop seed germination (Chinnappan and Mahalingam, 2011), and may also therefore have a similar effect on native plants.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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S. grandiflora wood is white and soft, relatively light, with a density of about 500 kg/m3. The timber is not durable, but is sometimes used for posts (Hocking, 1993). As a fuel, it burns rapidly without much heat (Hocking, 1993). However, because of its fast growth and availability within a year of planting, it is a popular fuelwood in areas where it grows. The wood is high in ash content (6.0%), but low in carbon (11.7%) (Pathak et al., 1987), with a calorific value of 17.91 MJ/kg. Wood should be well dried, and deteriorates in storage, becoming corky, dusty and unfit for burning (Evans et al., 1990).

S. grandiflora produces more cellulose as a raw material per unit area over very short rotations, than most other pulp wood tree species, usually in only 3-4 years. Trees of this age can be pulped without debarking and are suitable for chemical pulping for the production of cheap printing, writing, magazine and news printing papers. It has short fibres, but can be blended with long-fibred bamboo pulp in suitable proportions, resulting in much improved strength properties. When blended with bamboo pulp at a ratio of 20:80 it has been found to be suitable for the production of cheap papers and newsprint (Evans et al., 1990). The bark yields tannins, and a clear gum that is used as a substitute for gum arabic in foods and adhesives.

In Indonesia, fuelwood plantations yield 20-25 m3/ha per year (National Academy of Sciences, 1980). Rai et al. (1983) found the highest production after 3.5 years on riverside sites (65 kg/tree), 20 kg/tree under silvipasture and 10 kg/tree on canal-sides. On a 3-year rotation, about 40 t/ha of wood pulp can be harvested (Evans et al., 1990).

Young pods, leaves and flowers are a good food source and are widely used in rural areas. S. grandiflora is known in South East Asia for its large and edible flowers. Raw or lightly steamed after removing calyx and pistil, they are used as an ingredient of soups, salads and vegetable dishes. The white flowers are preferred in the Philippines since red ones are said to be bitter. Tender pods are eaten as string beans. The young leaves are also eaten, usually finely chopped and steamed, boiled or fried, but S. grandiflora leaves were found to be bitter in trials in India (Bai and Devadas, 1973), and had to be prepared in mixture with other leafy vegetables (Gopaldas et al., 1973). Sesbania leaves and pods have been eaten by lactating mothers to stimulate or increase milk secretion (galactagogue). Ochse and Bakhuisen van den Brink (1931) reported that in Java, leaves and young pods of S. grandiflora are eaten, especially by nursing mothers, following a belief from Africa and Asia that Sesbania foliage increases lactation of dairy animals.

Leaves and pods of S. grandiflora are valued as fodder. The foliage is reported to contain 36% crude protein (dry weight) and 9600 IU vitamin A per 100 g. S. grandiflora will produce a crop of leaves for fodder within 4 months of establishment. However, it cannot tolerate frequent lopping. Farmers in Lombok, Indonesia, use a system where the side branches only are lopped for fodder, leaving the main stem untouched (Gutteridge and Shelton, 1994). Due to the high protein content, it should be combined with low protein feeds that are high in energy, such as rice and maize straw. The fodder can be fed fresh, wilted or dried. Dried fodder can be stored and saved for times of shortage. The most effective method of feeding to ruminants is to provide it as a diet supplement at 15-30%. However, caution should be used in feeding the fodder to monogastric animals (Ash and Petaia, 1992; 't Mannetje and Jones, 1992). The leaves are reported to cure night blindness in cattle.

S. grandiflora has antibiotic, anti-helminthic, anti-neoplastic and contraceptive properties (Evans et al., 1990). For systemic disorders, decoctions are taken internally. A preparation made from the flowers and applied to the eyes is said to relieve dimness of vision. Preparations made from roots are used to treat malaria and as an expectorant, and poultices made from flowers and leaves are used to treat rheumatism, swellings, bruises and itching (Evans and Rotar, 1987).

S. grandiflora is a promising species for reforesting eroded and grassy wastelands throughout the tropics. It is used in agroforestry systems, especially where rehabilitation of eroded hilly areas is also required (Evans et al., 1990). It is well-suited to being grown as a fallow, planted densely, grown for short periods and ploughed under to improve soil fertility before the planting of food crops. It can also be used to shade coconut nurseries and root crop plantings, and to provide live support for pepper (Piper nigrum), betel (Piper betle) and vanilla. It is also used as a windbreak and shelterbelt for citrus, bananas and coffee, and is particularly effective when planted at close spacings in double or triple rows (Evans et al., 1990). Due to its rapid growth and nodulation, S. grandiflora foliage is also used as a green manure. It is grown in gardens, houselots and in mixed plantings for fodder production. It can also be planted in fence lines, field borders, rice paddy bunds and irrigation ditches. It is also commonly grown for ornamental purposes.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement
  • Windbreak

Fuels

  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Gum/mucilage
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Green manure
  • Gum/resin
  • Mulches
  • Tanstuffs
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant

Wood Products

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Pulp

  • Short-fibre pulp

Roundwood

  • Building poles
  • Posts

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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S. grandiflora can be mistaken for other Sesbania species when small, but has characteristic angled pods. S. punicea, another invasive species, can reach only 5 m, and most other species are 1-3 m shrubs or subshrubs, annuals, biennials and short-lived perennials. As the largest species in the genus, S. grandiflora is distinct in the size it can reach.

Prevention and Control

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Physical/Mechanical Control

Seedlings and small plants can be pulled, by hand or with implements, though large plants must be felled and the stumps either removed or treated with triclopyr to prevent coppicing. Mechanical control operations in well-established infestations usually disturb the soil and promote seed germination, so frequent follow-up operations are required to ensure sustained control of the weed.

Biological Control

Much work has been undertaken on other Sesbania spp. such as S. punicea, especially in South Africa, but not yet on S. grandiflora.

Chemical Control

No specific information on S. grandilfora was found, but on S. punicea in South Africa, herbicides are applied as a foliar spray with either triclopyr or glyphosate, or as a cut stump treatment with triclopyr, or as soil treatment with clopyralid and tebuthiuron. However, the use of herbicides as foliar sprays and soil treatment against S. punicea is not common because other control methods (mechanical and biological) are preferred.

References

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Contributors

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11/10/14 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Agroforestry Enterprises, France

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