Morphological, agronomic and forage quality diversity of the Flemingia macrophylla world collection uri icon

abstract

  • Flemingia macrophylla (Willd.) Merrill is a drought-tolerant, tropical multipurpose shrub legume especially suited to low-input smallholder production systems, as a dry season forage supplement, live soil cover, mulch and living barrier, among others. The diversity of the world collection of 70 accessions classified as E macrophylla was assessed using 14 morphological and phenological traits, and in terms of agronomic and forage potential. One erect and three semi-erect morphotypes were identified based on differences in plant height, flower and seed colour, inflorescence and peduncle length, and stem pubescence. Large variability in dry matter (DM) production (5-586 and 2272 g plant(-1) in the maximum and minimum rainfall periods, respectively), in vitro DM digestibility (IVDMD, 307-543 g kg(-1)) and crude protein content (169-237 g kg(-1)) was measured. The accessions CIAT 18437, CIAT 21083 and CIAT 21090 were identified as promising in terms of productivity and digestibility. Their IVDMD ranged up to 541 g kg(-1) in the maximum and up to 507 g kg(-1) in the minimum rainfall period. DM yield and IVDMD in the three selected accessions were superior to the control CIAT 17403. An exploratory cafeteria grazing trial showed that F macrophylla was palatable in the minimum but not consumed in the maximum rainfall period. Further morphological studies on inflorescence characteristics of herbarium specimens and molecular marker studies are warranted to clarify the taxonomic status (subspecies or varieties) of the four morphotypes identified. Further development, such as palatability studies with a selected set of accessions, can make Flemingia a valuable feed alternative. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2006
  • 2006