Centrosema rotundifolium


Scientific name

Centrosema rotundifolium Mart. ex Benth.

Synonyms

Bradburya rotundifolia (Mart. ex Benth.) Kuntze
Centrosema heptaphyllum Moric.
Centrosema rotundifolium var. angustifolium Benth.

Family/tribe

Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae) subfamily: Faboideae tribe: Phaseoleae subtribe: Clitoriinae. Also placed in: Papilionaceae .

Common names

          

Morphological description

Perennial, creeping herb, 3 (mainly) -5 leaflets/leaf, leaflets broad-elliptical to obovate, 4-35 mm wide, 6-45 mm long.  Aerial inflorescences with 2-6 violet flowers, aerial pods falcate , 25-50 mm long and 4-7 mm wide with 3-8 seeds, c. 5 mm long, 3 mm wide.
The species shows amphicarpy:  In addition to aerial peduncles and inflorescences, belowground peduncles penetrate from nodes of creeping stems into the soil, branch out and produce very small flowers from which 1- (seldom 2-) seeded pods develop.  In comparison with aerial seeds, belowground seeds are c. 40% larger and heavier.

Distribution

Native to:
South America :  Brazil, Paraguay.

Uses/applications

Long-term pasture , ground cover (erosion control, dune stabilization).

Ecology

Soil requirements

Very sandy, well drained;  medium to low fertility, acid to very acid.

Moisture

Top

800-1,200 mm/yr, 5-8 dry months.  Defoliates in dry season but regrows in rainy season.

Temperature

Warm season growth only, frost tolerance unknown.

Light

Shade tolerance unknown.

Reproductive development

Flowering and pod setting triggered by drought stress.  Species is amphicarpic.  Belowground reproduction cleistogamous, mostly one-seeded pods, aboveground reproduction chasmogamous , 3-5 seeded pods;  100-seed weight:  7-10g.

Defoliation

Tolerates heavy grazing.

Fire

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Regrows after fire from underground xylopodium meristems and soil seed bank.

Agronomy

Establishment

More hardseededness in aboveground than in belowground seed;  scarification recommended.

Fertiliser

Phosphorus for establishment recommended.

Compatibility (with other species)

Once established, very good.

Companion species

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Grasses:  Brachiaria humidicola and other creeping, stoloniferous grasses.

Pests and diseases

Rhizoctonia foliar blight (occasionally).

Ability to spread

Spread by both stolons and seed.

Weed potential

No information available.

Feeding value

Nutritive value

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Medium to high.  In 8 week old herbage (east Venezuela):  CP 22-24%, P 0.39-0.45%, Ca 0.52-0.64%.

Palatability/acceptability

Consumed by cattle and horses.

Toxicity

None recorded.

Production potential

Dry matter

Low, e.g., in east Venezuela:  dry season, 75-184 kg/ha in 5 months;  rainy season:  2,140-2,420 kg/ha in 4 months.

Animal production

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No information available.

Genetics/breeding

2n = 22.  Aboveground reproduction partly allogamous .

Seed production

In comparison with aboveground, belowground seed production more than 3 times higher;  harvest by sieving of topsoil (first 15 cm);  yields of up to 1.5 t/ha possible.

Herbicide effects

No information available.

Strengths

  • Persistence under heavy grazing.
  • Amphicarpy enables a continuous replenishment of soil seed bank by belowground seed production.

Limitations

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  • Low dry matter production.
  • Amphicarpic seed production constrains commercial seed production.

Other comments

        

Selected references

Rodríguez, I., Schultze-Kraft, R. and González, S. (2001) Evaluation of Centrosema rotundifolium for sand -soil savannas in Eastern Venezuela. In: Proceedings, XIX International Grassland Congress, 11-21 February 2001, São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil . pp. 565-566.
Schultze-Kraft, R. and Clements, R.J. (eds) (1990) Centrosema : Biology, Agronomy , and Utilization. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia.
Schultze-Kraft, R., Keller-Grein, G., Cárdenas, E. and Díaz Bolívar, F. (1994) Potencial de Centrosema rotundifolium como leguminosa forrajera. Pasturas Tropicales, 16, 2-8.

Internet links

        

Cultivars

Cultivars

Country/date released

Details

None released to date.         

Promising accessions

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Promising accessions

Country

Details

CIAT 5260, 5721, 25148 Venezuela The most productive and persistent accessions.