Leucaena, Gliricidia sepium, Legumes, Bitter bean, Thorn trees
Thon phak katin leucaena leucocephala
- Thon phak katin leucaena leucocephala
- Leucaena leucocephala 1 rare unusual exotic hardy seeds for the garden greenhouse conservatory
- Use by humans
- Forage and fodder
- Green manure and biomass production
- Food for humans
- Invasive properties
- Other limitations
- Potential as bioherbicidal agent
- Local names
Common names include white leadtree, jumbay, river tamarind, Subabul, and white popinac.
The specific name is derived from the Greek words λευκό, meaning "white", and κέφαλος, meaning "head," referring to its flowers.
Leucaena leucocephala 1 rare unusual exotic hardy seeds for the garden greenhouse conservatory
Use by humans
During the 1970s and 1980s, it was promoted as a "miracle tree" for its multiple uses. It has also been described as a "conflict tree" because it is used for forage production but spreads like a weed in some places.
The legume is promoted in several countries of Southeast Asia (at least Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand), most importantly as a source of quality animal feed, but also for residual use for firewood or charcoal production.
Forage and fodder
In many cases this acid is metabolized by ruminants to goitrogenic DHP [3-hydroxy-4(1H) pyridone] in the rumen, but in some geographical areas, ruminants lack the organisms (such as Synergistes jonesii) that can degrade DHP.
In such cases, toxicity problems from ingestion of Leucaena have sometimes been overcome by infusing susceptible animals with rumen fluid from ruminants that possess such organisms, and more recently by inoculating cattle rumina with such organisms cultured in vitro.
Such measures have facilitated Leucaena use for fodder in Australia and elsewhere.
Green manure and biomass production
Leucaena leucocephala has been considered for biomass production because its reported yield of foliage corresponds to a dried mass of 2,000–20,000 kg/ha/year, and that of wood 30–40 m³/ha/year, with up to twice those amounts in favorable climates.
It is also efficient in nitrogen fixation, at more than 500 kg/ha/year.
It has a very fast growth rate: young trees reach a height of more than 20 ft in two to three years.
Food for humans
The young pods are edible and occasionally eaten in Javanese vegetable salad with spicy peanut sauce, and spicy fish wrapped in papaya or taro leaves in Indonesia, and in papaya salad in Laos and Thailand, where they are known as phak krathin (Thai: ผักกระถิน).
L. leucocephala is considered one of the 100 worst invasive species by the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
It grows quickly and forms dense thickets that crowd out all native vegetation.
In urban areas, it is an especially unwanted species, growing along arid roadsides, in carparks, and on abandoned land.
This species is susceptible to insect infestations. In the 1980s, a widespread loss in Southeast Asia was due to pest attack by psyllids.
In India, this tree was initially promoted for afforestation due to its fast-growing nature. However, it is now considered unsuitable for urban planting because of its tendency to get uprooted in rain and wind. Eight of every 10 trees uprooted by wind in Pune are subabuls (Hindi name for L leucocephala).
Potential as bioherbicidal agent
L. leucocephala is an allelopathic tree. Phytotoxic allelochemicals, such as mimosine and certain phenolic compounds, including p-hydroxycinnamic acid, protocatechuic acid, and gallic acid, have been identified in the leaves of the species. Bioherbicidal activity of L. leucocephala on terrestrial plants and aquatic weed water hyacinth were reported.