Aeschynomene aspera L. - FABACEAE - Dicotyledon

Common name : Indian- or harsh- jointvetch.

Habit - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Stem apex showing alternate leaf  - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Stipules - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Articulated pod - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Flower - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Flower detail - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Stem with bacterial nodules - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006 Stem under water - © Juliana PROSPERI - CIRAD 2005 - 2006

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Botany Biology Phenology Ecology Distribution Agricultural importance Cultural control Biological control

Botany :

Description : Terrestrial or aquatic, perennial, erect subshrub up to 200 cm tall, partially submerged. Taproot or fibrous roots white or brown, rooting in the substrate under water. Stems rounded, solid, warty, glabrous or hairy, often with white, spongy parenchyma at base (under water). Stipules present, triangular, glabrous. Leaves compound, paripinnate, alternate spiral, stalked, leaflets glabrous on both sides, glaucous below, margin entire, apex obtuse, base obtuse or rounded, pinnately veined. Flowers bisexual, grouped together in an axillary, 1 to few- flowered raceme, stalked, petals 5, yellow. Fruit an articulated pod.
Seeds : Brown to black, glossy, oblong-kidney-shapped, 2-2.5 x 3-3.5 mm, with thin endosperm.

Biology :

Aeschynomene aspera is propagated by seeds and stem. Seeds are dormant and hard seed coat prevent easy germination, an extremely require high soil moisture or flooded condition for germination, but more than 2 cm of standing water prevents seedling growth. Vegetative propagation is possible using stem cutting with root primordial. Fruit ripening causes drying and brown discoloration of leaves and stems, ending the growth cycle.

Phenology :

Throughout the year.

Ecology :

A. aspera is found from 0-900 m altitude in tropical areas with a distinct dry season and a rainfall distribution. It is a semi-aquatic pioneer plant of marshes and temporarily wet places. It will grow in a wide range of soils, from pure dune sands along rivers to peat soils in mangrove swamps.

Distribution :

A. aspera is believed to have originated in sub-Saharan Africa between Senegal and Sudan. It is widely distributed in the lowlands of western, central, north-eastern and southern Africa. In 1986 it was introduced into the Philippines and since then has been grown experimentally across South and South-Earth Asia.

Agricultural importance :

A weed of minor importance.

Cultural control :

Control by hands.

Biological control :

Few diseases and pests are reported. A bacterial wilt is reported to affect biomass production in some areas. The leaf-eating larvae of the Lepidopterous species Eurema lecabe can became a problem when A. aspera is grown in the short-day season.

Uses :
In traditional Cambodian medicine, the young leaves and flowers are consumed in salad and used topically as a poultice. The crushed young shoot and leaves are taken orally as an anti-haemorrhagic during labour. The potential use of A. aspera 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 mature crop on experimental stations and in extension demonstration trials. So far it is only occasionally used by farmers in South-Earth Asia.

References :
- AICAF. 1997. Weeds in the tropics. Association for International Cooperation of Agriculture and Forestry, Japan.

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