leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit
|| |||© W.D. Hawthorne|
Keywords in this picture :
Places where this species can be found :
- Grand Etang - GRENADA
- Levera National Park - GRENADA
- Mt. Hartman Estate - GRENADA
DescriptionTree 2-10m, with very short grey hairs on young twigs. Petiole with or without glands, rachis usually with a gland between lowermost pinnae; 4-8 pirs pinnae with 10-20 pairs leaflets, paler below. 1.5-3cm diam balls of greenish white flowers. Papery pods 10-20cm long x 1.5-2cm wide with about 20 seeds.
InterestLeucaena is from Greek, mean to whiten, leucocephala refers to the "white head" of flowers. Only known to scientists for short time, but widely used in Mexico porior to 1500AD, Mayans relying on it for green manure and maybe for food. Mexican state of Oaxaca derives name from huaxin, Zapotec word "place where Leuacaena grows". Spaniards took to Philippines in 1600s, and spreas from there. Shade tree, fuelwood, erosion control, animal food. Contains mimosine, which is toxic, can cause goitre, loss of hair. However, in some places toxicity not observed, due to lack of rumen bacteria in the animals from these areas. Main problem to non-ruminants e.g. chicken and fish. Early 1980s pandemic of small sucking psyllid insect, causing serious global fodder problems.(Simmons & Smartt, 1995) Can become a serious weed in some areas, forming dense thickets and with potential to poison goats etc. if consumed in excess. Supposedly causing the hair of horses and goats to fall out. However, the young cooked pods are raw seeeds are eaten and said to be delicious (Cornber, 1988).