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Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Poiret

Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Poiret




Robinia grandiflora L., Ae­schynomene grandiflora (L.) L., Agati grandiflora (L.) Desv.

Vernacular Names


Sesban, kacang turi (Peninsular), petai belalang (Sabah).


Agati sesbania, West-In­dian pea.


Turi (Sun­danese), toroy (Maduranese), tuwi (Balinese).


Pan (Tagalog), gauai-gauai (Visaya), katuday (Ilokano).




Kh'ê: kha:w.


Khae, khae-ban.


So dua.



Geographical Distributions

The exact country of origin of Sesbania grandiflora is unknown (India or Indonesia have been suggested) but it is considered native to many Southeast Asian coun­tries. It is widely distributed throughout the tropics from southern Mexico to South America and has been planted in southern Florida and Hawaii. It has been cultivated for at least 140 years in West Africa and more recently in East Africa.


Sesbania grandiflora is a loosely branching tree that can reach up to 15 m tall and about 30 cm in diametre. Roots are normally heavily nodulated with large nodules. The tree can develop floating roots and aerenchyma tissue. The stems are hairy and unarmed.

The leaf is pinnately compound, measures up to 30 cm long, including a petiole of 7-15 mm long. The rachis is slightly pubescent or hairless. There are 20-50 leaflets. They are in pairs that are opposite to alter­nate on the same leaf. They are oblong to elliptical, measuring 12-44 mm x 5-15 mm, rounded to obtuse to slightly emarginate at the apex, slightly asymmetrical at the base and hairless or sparsely pubescent on both surfaces. The stipels are slender, measure 0.75-1 mm long, pubes­cent and persistent. The stipules are broadly lance-shaped, measure 8 mm long and early deciduous.

The raceme is axillary and 2-4 flow­ered while the rachis is up to 65 mm long. The peduncle is 15-35 mm long and tomentose. The pedicels are 15-18 mm long and pubes­cent. The bracts are lance-shaped, measure 3-6 mm long and early deci­duous. The bracteoles are broadly lance-shaped, measure 4-6 mm long and deciduous. The flower is white, yellowish, rose-pink or red. The sepal is 15-22 mm long, closed in the young buds and splitting or breaking in various ways at anthesis. The basal part is persistent in fruit. The standard measures up to 10.5 cm x 6 cm and without appendages at the claw. The wings measure up to 10.5 cm x 3 cm and without a basal tooth. The keel measures up to 10.5 cm x 4.5 cm with basal tooth. The staminal tube is 10-12 cm long and curved for most of its length. The ovary and style are hairless.

The pod is linear to slightly falcate measuring 20-60 cm x 6-9 mm with broad sutures. It is 15-50 seeded, with septa 7.5-10 mm apart, smooth, hanging vertically and indehiscent.

The seed is slightly kidney-shaped, measuring 6.5 mm x 5 mm x 2.5-3 mm and dark brown.

Ecology / Cultivation

Sesbania grandiflora is only suitable for the lowland tropics, up to 800 m above sea level, as it is frost-sensitive and cannot tolerate cool tempera­tures over an extended period. Although it has been successfully grown in arid areas with only 800 mm annual rainfall, it is best adapted to places with an annual rainfall between 2000-4000 mm. It can be grown in a wide range of soils including those that are poor and waterlogged. It tolerates saline and alkaline soils and has also some toler­ance to acidic soils down to pH (H20) 4.5. S. grandi­flora is able to tolerate flooding over long periods.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.4: Forages.

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