Leucaena leucocephala – White lead tree

Leucaena leucocephala is widely grown as an agroforestry species in tropical regions. In the 1970s and 1980s the tree was very widely planted as a forage tree legume and seen as a solution to many tropical agriculture problems as it was fast growing, nitrogen fixing, fairly drought tolerent and could be used for fodder, shading other crops and as firewood.  Its value was recognised by the Spanish colonists of the Americas who spread seeds fo the plant around the tropics. However the species soon became a weed and is now causing many problems by displacing native flora.  For more detail see the FAO Leucaena leucocephala web page.

A seedling of Leucaena leucocephala grown from our small tree

A seedling of Leucaena leucocephala grown from our small tree which regularly flowers and fruits.

 

This mimosoid legume is native to Central America and shows typical features of this group of Fabaceae including the twice pinnate leaves and the ball shaped flower heads.  The pods are typical pea-like legumes.

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