(Lam.) de Wit
Leucaena leucocephala is a small, fast-growing mimosoid tree native to southern Mexico and northern Central America (Belize and Guatemala), but is now naturalized throughout the tropics. Common names include white leadtree, jumbay,river tamarind, Subabul, and white popinac. The specific name is derived from the Greek words λευκό, meaning "white", and κέφαλος, meaning "head", referring to its flowers. L. leucocephala is used for a variety of purposes, such as firewood, fiber and livestock fodder.
Use by humans
During the 1970s and 1980s, it was promoted as a "miracle tree" for its multiple uses. It has also been described as a "conflict tree" in that it is both promoted for forage production and spreads like a weed in some places.
The legume is promoted in several countries of Southeast Asia (at least Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand), most importantly as a source of quality animal feed, but also for residual use for firewood or charcoal production.
Forage and fodder
The legume provides an excellent source of high-protein cattle fodder. Leucaena fodder contains mimosine, a toxic amino acid which is metabolized to goitrogenic DHP [3-hydroxy-4(1H) pyridone] in the rumen. In some geographical areas, ruminants lack rumen organisms (such as Synergistes jonesii) that can degrade DHP. In such cases, toxicity problems from ingestion of Leucaena have sometimes been overcome by infusing susceptible animals with rumen fluid from ruminants that possess such organisms, and more recently, by inoculating cattle rumina with such organisms cultured in vitro. Such measures have facilitated Leucaena use for fodder in Australia and have also been used elsewhere.
Green manure and biomass production
Leucaena leucocephala has been considered for biomass production, as its reported yield of foliage corresponds to a dried mass of 2,000–20,000 kg/ha/year, and that of wood 30–40 m³/ha/year, with up to twice those amounts in favourable climates. It is also efficient in nitrogen fixation, at more than 500 kg/ha/year. It has a very fast growth rate, young trees reach a height of more than 20 ft in two to three years.
Food for humans
The young pods are edible and occasionally eaten with Javanese vegetables salad with spicy peanut sauce and spicy fish wrapped in papaya or taro leaves in Indonesia, papaya salad in Laos and in Thailand, where they are known as phak krathin (Thai: ผักกระถิน).
L. leucocephala is a highly invasive in the arid parts of Taiwan, The Bahamas, the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and northern Australia, as well as in South America and Europe. It grows quickly, and forms dense thickets which crowd out any native vegetation. L. leucocephala is considered one of the 100 worst invasive species by the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
This species is susceptible to insect infestations. In the 1980s, a widespread loss in Southeast Asia was due to pest attack by psyllids. In India, this tree was initially promoted for afforestation due to its fast-growing nature. However, it is now considered unsuitable for urban planting because of its tendency to get uprooted in rain and wind. Eight of every 10 trees uprooted by wind in Pune are subabuls (Hindi name for L leucocephala).[clarification needed]
Potential as bioherbicidal agent
L. leucocephala is an allelopathic tree. Phytotoxic allelochemicals, such as mimosine and certain phenolic compounds, including p-hydroxycinnamic acid, protocatechuic acid, and gallic acid, have been identified in the leaves of the species. Bioherbicidal activity of L. leucocephala on terrestrial plants and aquatic weed water hyacinth were reported.
- Mayan language: Huaxim (washim)
- Indigenous distribution area:
- Southeast Asia:
- Burmese: ဘောစကိုင်း (Burmese: bo: zagain: / bɔ́ zagáĩ)
- Cebuano: byatilis or luyluy
- Indonesian: lamtoro, petai cina, or petai selong
- Javanese: pethet, lamtoro
- Khmer: កន្ធំ (Khmer: kantʰum)
- Lao: ກະຖິນ (Lao: ká tʰín)
- Malay: petai belalang
- Maranao: ipil-ipil
- Mon: ဖဝ်ရဂိုန်2 (Mon: phɔrəkɜ̀n)
- Oriya: nagarjuna
- Sundanese: peuteuy sélong
- Tagalog: ipil-ipil, santa-elena, santaelena
- Taiwanese: 臭青仔 (chhàu-chheⁿ-á/chhàu-chhiⁿ-á), 銀合歡 (gîn-ha̍p-hoan/gûn-ha̍p-hoan)
- Thai: ผักกระถิน phak kratin (Thai: krà tʰǐn )
- Vietnamese: keo dậu, keo giậu
- Elsewhere in the world:
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- Tree Preservation
- Hong Kong Flora and Vegetation
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- ODI - Alley Farming
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- Chai TT, Ooh KF, Ooi PW, Chue PS, Wong FC (2013) Leucaena leucocephala leachate compromised membrane integrity, respiration and antioxidative defence of water hyacinth leaf tissues. Botanical Studies 54: 8.
- Wolff, John U. A Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan. 1972. http://bohol.ph/wolff.php
- 台文華文線頂辭典. Tâi-bûn Hôa-bûn Sòaⁿ-téng Sû-tián. [Taiwanese-Chinese Online Dictionary.] Retrieved 25 April 2015. (Min-nan)
- Little Jr., Elbert L.; Roger G. Skolmen (1989). "Koa haole, leucaena" (PDF). Common Forest Trees of Hawaii. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leucaena leucocephala.|
- M. Suttie, Jim. "Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit". Grassland Species Profiles. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- Handbook of Energy Crops at Purdue University: Leucaena leucocephala
- Economics of Subabul Plantation In Hegde, N.G. and Abhyanker, P.D. (eds.) The Greening of Wastelands.
- Relwani, L.L. & Hegde, N.G. 1986.
- Leucaena leucocephala factsheet
- Pradip Krishen, 'Trees of Delhi a Field Guide', DK publishers, Page 291, 2006