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ArbóreoEspecies de plantas

Sesbania grandiflora

Sesbania grandiflora

The West Indian pea (Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Poiret) is an arboreal species belonging to the Fabaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Fabales Order,
Family Fabaceae,
Subfamily Faboideae,
Sesbanieae tribe
Genus Sesbania,
S. grandiflora species.
The term is basionym:
– Robinia grandiflora L..
The terms are synonymous:
– Aeschynomene coccinea L.f.;
– Aeschynomene grandiflora (L.) L.;
– Agati coccinea (L.f.) Desv.;
– Agati grandiflora (L.) Desv.;
– Agati grandiflora var. albiflora Wight & Arn.;
– Agati grandiflora var. coccinea (L.f.) Wight & Arn.;
– Coronilla coccinea (L.f.) Willd.;
– Coronilla grandiflora (L.) Willd.;
– Coronilla grandiflora Boiss.;
– Dolichos arborescens G. Don;
– Dolichos arboreus Forssk.;
– Emerus grandiflorus (L.) Hornem.;
– Emerus grandiflorus (L.) Kuntze;
– Resupinaria grandiflora (L.) Raf.;
– Sesban coccinea (L.f.) Poir.;
– Sesban grandiflora (L.) Poir.;
– Sesban grandiflorus (L.) Poir.;
– Sesbania coccinea (L.f.) Pers..
– Sesbania mannii Sachet.

Etymology –
The term Sesbania derives from the Arabic name “saisabān” of a species belonging to the genus (Sesbania sesban (L.) Merr., 1912).
The specific epithet grandiflora comes from the Latin «grandis, e», i.e. large and from «flos, -oris», i.e. flower, in reference to large flowers.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Sesbania grandiflora is a plant native to Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and present up to northern Australia, as well as cultivated in many parts of India and Sri Lanka.
The original habitat is uncertain but they are found in arid lands and roadsides.

Description –
Sesbania grandiflora is a small evergreen tree, with soft wood up to 4–16 m tall, and with little branched branches and a rather open crown.
The trunk is cylindrical and erect, 10-30 cm in diameter, with a greyish, fissured bark, from whose wounds a reddish resin exudes which can be used as a substitute for gum arabic.
The device fixes atmospheric nitrogen, significantly enriching the soil.
It has paripinnate, alternate leaves, 15-35 cm long, with 10-30 pairs of opposite or subopposed oblong leaflets with obtuse apex, 1.8-4 cm long and 0.6-1.5 cm wide.
The inflorescences are racemose and hanging from the axils of the leaves; they are 4-7 cm long, and each bear 2-4 papilionaceous flowers on a 1-2 cm long pubescent pedicel. The calyx is green bell-shaped, 1.8-2.5 cm long, pink, red or white corolla with ovate-oblong flag, 5-10 cm long and 3-6 cm wide, ovate falcate wings , 5-10 cm long and 2-3 cm wide, keel 5-8 cm long and 3-4.5 cm wide, and 10 curved stamens, of which 9 with the filaments welded together and one free (diadelphus), of approximately 10cm long.
The fruit is a dehiscent, linear, slightly curved legume, 30-60 cm long and 0.8 cm wide.
Inside there are 20-40 elliptical, compressed seeds, about 0.6 cm long and 0.4 cm wide, brown in colour.

Cultivation –
Sesbania grandiflora is a short-lived, multipurpose tree, providing a range of foods, medicines, timber, rubber and tannins, mainly for local use. The plant is cultivated in many tropical areas as an ornamental plant, as a green manure, in soil reclamation interventions and for its numerous properties.
This plant is well adapted to the hot and humid environments of the lowland tropics, where it grows at altitudes below 1,000 meters with an average annual temperature between 22 and 30 °C and an average annual rainfall between 2,000 and 4,000 mm, tolerating exceptional rainfall up to 800 mm per year.
However, it is not very tolerant of cool temperatures below about 10 °C.
It appears to prefer a bimodal distribution of precipitation, with rapid growth during the rainy season, but is able to withstand prolonged dry seasons of up to 9 months.
For cultivation and optimal growth it requires a sunny position.
From a pedological point of view, it prefers fertile, moist but well-drained, moderately light soil, although it adapts to slightly sandy, medium, heavy clayey and low-fertility soils. It prefers a pH of 5.5 to 8.5, but can tolerate acidic conditions as low as 4.5.
It also requires a location sheltered from strong winds.
The plant has an exceptional ability to tolerate water stagnation and is ideal for seasonally flooded environments. When flooded, the plant develops floating, adventitious roots and protects its stems.
This legume is widely cultivated in the tropics as an ornamental plant, where it is appreciated above all for its long flowering. The plant is a prolific seed producer, which leads to the production of a lot of residue under the tree and a tendency to produce seedlings in unwanted locations. In some areas it has escaped cultivation and has naturalized. It is considered invasive in some Pacific islands.
The species grows very quickly, but does not live long: it has a lifespan of about 20 years.
Plants reach a height of 3.2 meters in just 9 months when grown in clay soils, but only 1.8 meters when grown in sandy soils.
The plant has shallow roots and tends to grow too quickly, producing brittle, weak stems that have a tendency to break; it is in fact a plant that is easily uprooted in case of strong winds.
With a very short rotation of 3 – 4 years, the tree is capable of producing a much greater amount of cellulose raw material per unit area than most other types of pulp plants.
Even 3 – 4 year old trees can be pulped without debarking and are suitable for chemical pulping for use as economical paper for printing, writing, magazines and newsprint.
With a 3-year rotation, approximately 41 tons of pulp can be harvested per hectare per year.
Young plants respond well to the first coppicing, but tend to coppic less well with repeated cutting.
The plants can flower all year round.
It reproduces easily by seed, which does not require particular pre-treatments, in draining soil kept humid at a temperature of 24-26 °C, with germination times of 10-20 days and first flowering within a year; it is also propagated by cuttings and layering.

Customs and Traditions –
Sesbania grandiflora is a plant known by various common names; among these we remember: sesbania agati, corkwood tree, hummingbird tree, scarlet wistaria-tree, vegetable-hummingbird, West Indian-pea (English); agati, bak (Bengali); from hua tian jing (Chinese); colibri végétal, fagotier, fleur papillon, pois valier (French); shiro gocho (Japanese); agasti, agasati, basna, hatiya (Hindi); kembang turi, toroy, tuwi (Indonesian); agasti (Nepali); agasto, sesbania (Portuguese); agasti, agati, varnari (Sanskrit); báculo, crest de gallo, gallito, pico de flamenco, sesbania agata (Spanish); agathi, agatti (Tamil); khae baan, khae daeng (Thai); I know đũa (Vietnamese).
This plant, due to its versatility, has spread to various tropical and subtropical countries where it is cultivated mainly for its ornamental characteristics, as an isolated specimen or in street trees, and for its leaves, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, used in human food, as fodder for ruminants and in green manure, for this purpose it is often planted at the edges of rice fields.
It is also used to form windbreaks in coffee, citrus and banana plantations, as a support for pepper (Piper nigrum L.) and betel (Piper betle L.) plants, and in reforestation; the light wood is used in the paper industry and locally as fuel.
In addition to the young leaves, cooked and added to various dishes characteristic of Southeast Asian cuisine, the flowers are also consumed, preferably white ones, removed from the bitter-tasting stamens, raw or steamed and added to soups and salads. All parts of the plant have been used since ancient times in traditional medicine for a wide spectrum of pathologies.
The edible flowers and leaves are commonly eaten in Southeast Asia and South Asia.
It is also used to produce highly nutritious forage for ruminants such as cattle, although it can be deadly for chickens.
Culinary, S. grandiflora flowers are consumed as a vegetable in Southeast Asia and South Asia, including Java and Lombok in Indonesia, the Ilocos region of the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
In the Thai language the flowers are called ดอกแค (dok khae) and are used in cooking both cooked in curry, such as kaeng som and kaeng khae, and raw or blanched with nam phrik.
The flowers of S. grandiflora are made up of 92% water, 7% carbohydrates, 1% proteins and do not contain fat. In a reference amount of 100 grams, the flowers provide 27 calories and are a rich source of vitamin C (88% of the daily value, DV) and folic acid (26% DV).
Other uses include agroforestry uses.
Being a very fast growing plant, with an extensive root system that fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it is ideal for restoring eroded hills.
In good soil, the plant can reach a height of 2 meters within 12 weeks and 4 – 5 meters within 12 months, producing mature pods within 9 months.
The fruits, falling leaves and flowers make excellent green manure or mulch and improve soil fertility.
The plant has been used to provide shade in nurseries; for some plantation crops such as coffee, tea and cocoa; and as a windbreak for citrus fruits, bananas and coffee.
It can be used as a living fence, as a shelter belt or as a live support for crops such as vanilla and pepper.
Crops continue to grow well when intercropped with this species as its open canopy allows sunlight to pass through.
A gum is obtained from the endosperm of the seed.
From the trunk a clear, garnet red, astringent gum is obtained, which turns black on exposure to air. This is used in stickers; the qualities of the gum are similar to those of gum arabic (Senegalia senegal).
The bark produces tannins.
The oil obtained from the seeds is rich in oleic, linoleic and stearic fatty acids.
The white wood is soft and rather light. The density of wood, however, increases with age, and lumber from trees between 5 and 8 years old can be used in home construction or as craft wood.
The trunk has been used to build poles, but may not last long due to rot and insect infestation.
Light wood is used in floating fishing nets.
Wood is a major source of pulp for use in paper production. The fibers are short and can also be mixed with long fiber bamboo pulp in suitable proportions to give good strength.
Wood is used as fuel and to make charcoal. It is not widely regarded as a fuel because it smokes excessively during combustion. Having a weight of only 500 kg/m2, it burns quickly without producing much heat. But the tree’s rapid growth and availability within a year of planting make it a popular firewood locally.
Wood must be well dried, as during storage it deteriorates and becomes corky, dusty and unsuitable for combustion. Its calorific value is 17.91 MJ/kg, with a high ash content (6%) and a low carbon percentage (11.7%).

Preparation Method –
Sesbania grandiflora is a plant with multiple uses and is sold as a vegetable in local markets.
The flowers of this plant are consumed raw or cooked and added to salads, boiled as an aromatic herb, fried or used in curries; it is considered a delicacy in India.
They are rich in sugar and iron, with a mushroom flavour.
Usually the central part of the flower is removed because it is very bitter; furthermore, white flowers are generally preferred to red ones.
The tender pods are also consumed, raw or cooked. The long, narrow pods are boiled and eaten like green beans. Very young pods can be added to salads.
The protein-rich seeds are fermented into tempeh (a fermented food made from seeds).
Young leaves and shoots are eaten raw or cooked; they can be eaten like spinach; They are often blanched and added to salads, cooked as a potherb, or added to stews.
A transparent gum obtained from the bark is used in foods.
In the medicinal field, the leaves are used which are eperient and diuretic.
The crushed leaves are applied as a poultice on sprains and bruises of all kinds, swelling, rheumatism, itching, etc.
A tea prepared from the leaves is believed to have antibiotic, anthelmintic and anticancer properties and contraceptive properties.
The bitter bark is considered astringent, febrifuge, tonic and antipyretic, a remedy for gastric disorders, colic with diarrhea and dysentery.
A decoction of the bark is taken orally to treat fever, diarrhea, dysentery and diabetes.
The flowers are emollient and laxative. The juice of the flowers, put into the eyes, is said to relieve darkness of vision. Sinus congestion is reduced by taking a decoction of flowers.
The root is a well-known malaria medicine. The root juices are used for poultices.
A root paste is applied externally in the treatment of rheumatism.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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