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CTA. 1994. Multi-purpose tree. Spore 49. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49312
Trichantera gigantea, a member of the Acanthaceae family, is a multi-purpose tree which is known as \91Nacedero' in its native Colombia. It produces up to 100 tonnes of biomass per hectare per year and, although not a legume, appears to be...
Trichantera gigantea, a member of the Acanthaceae family, is a multi-purpose tree which is known as \91Nacedero' in its native Colombia. It produces up to 100 tonnes of biomass per hectare per year and, although not a legume, appears to be associated with bacteria which fix atmospheric nitrogen in its roots. The tree is of interest to livestock producers because, unlike many legumes, it appears to have fewer antinutritional factors (tannins, etc.) in the leaves. The leaves, though normally fed to ruminants, can also be fed to pigs as a component of a mixed diet (which includes sugarcane juice and other local feeds) and performance has been very satisfactory. In addition the tree produces wood and fuel and can be cut every three months from about 18 months after establishment. This produces a high yield of biomass per hectare. Trichantera has been evaluated in other countries including Vietnam and Tanzania, where it has been found to grow well in humid tropical conditions. Unfortunately, it does not often flower and so has to be propagated from cuttings rather than by seed. But it is a tree that has been grown in Colombia and other parts of South America for many years and one which is used by small farmers. Like many local trees, it is often grown around the fields and used as a 'live fence', making it a truly multi-purpose resource. Research on Trichantera is currently in progress in a joint project between the University of Oxford's Department of Plant Sciences and the ODA's Natural Resources Institute to assess the taxonomic and chemical variation in the species with a view to finding the most suitable provenances for further deveIopment and livestock feeding. It is already being used in farming systems work m Colombia at the Centro pare la Investigacion en Sistemas Sostenibles de Produccion Agropecuaria (CIPAV) under the direction of Dr T Preston. Dr Andrew Speedy or Mauricio Rosales Department of Plant Sciences University of Oxford South Parks Road Oxford OX1 3RB UK