Crotalaria goodiaeformis

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Local names:

Crotalaria goodiaeformis is a bushy shrub or subshrub up to 2.6 m tall. Branches slender, apressed or spreading pubescent, glabrescent; bark pale brown, conspicuously lenticillate.

Leaves 3-foliolate; leaflets broadly oblanceolate, elliptic or obovate, up to 15-55 mm long, 5-30 mm wide, sparsely appressed pilose on both surfaces; petiole up to 12-45 mm long. Stipules filiform up to 2mm long caducous.

Racemes lax, with few flowers on the very slender rachis; bracts filiform, 1-3 mm long; bracteoles inserted just below the calyx, linear, ascending and sometimes curved, up to 6 mm long. Calyx 8-10 mm long, sparsely appressed pilose; lobes narrowly attenuate-triangular, twice as long as the tube. Standard suborbicular, yellow or orange, marked and veined purple at the base inside and sometimes outside, usually puberulous along the midvein outside; wings longer than the keel.

Pods shortly stipitate, oblong-clavate, 20-40 mm long, 8-10 mm across, thinly spreading pubescent, 14-16 seeded.

Seeds oblique cordiform, 4-5 mm long, slightly rugulose, dark brown, sometimes mottled greenish-brown.

The species shows a wide phenotypic variation because of its wide habitat distribution. It is becoming rare in its natural habitat in Kenya. The genus name ‘Crotalaria’, meaning rattle, is indicative of the noise made by the seeds shaken in the mature pods.

Ecology

C. goodiaeformis is found in margins and clearings of lowland and upland rain forest, dry evergreen forest, deciduous woodland, wooded grassland and bushland. It also persists on abandoned cultivations, especially in hedges.

Native range
Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania

Tree management

The tree is frequently copppiced or uprooted for fodder and has a good survival, planting in shaded conditions improves survivability. Recommended spacing for C. goodiaeformis is between 45 and 90 cm.

C. goodiaeformis is found in margins and clearings of lowland and upland rain forest, dry evergreen forest, deciduous woodland, wooded grassland and bushland. It also persists on abandoned cultivations, especially in hedges.

Direct sowing of seeds produces good germination with high survival rate in the nursery.

Erosion control:  Protects surrounding soil from erosion.

The leaves are important as cattle fodder in dry lowland areas (900m above sea level) of Kenya. Leaves have a high protein but low ash content.

Twigs can be used as firesticks.

Medicine:  Root decoction administered for stomach ache and hookworms.

Soil improver:  Leaf litter from the shrub enhances soil fertility.