Exotic tree seedling
Scientific name: Leucaena leucocephala
Age: 6 months old. Ungrafted.
Leucaena leucocephala is a small, variably shrubby and highly branched to medium-sized tree with a short, clear trunk to 5m, upright angular branching. deep red inner bark on older branches and trunk. This evergreen plant is deep rooted. It often has a combination of flowers, immature and mature pods all present on the tree at the same time.
Leucaena leucocephala is used in the production of green manure in alley-cropping systems. Even with moderate yields, the leaves contain more than enough nitrogen to sustain a maize crop. The finely divided leaves decompose quickly, providing a rapid, short-term influx of nutrients. The tree has the potential to renew soil fertility and could be particularly important in slash and burn cultivation, as it reduces the fallow period between crops. It is used as a shade tree for cocoa, coffee and tea; it generally acts as a shelterbelt, providing shade and wind protection for a variety of crops, especially during early growth. Leucaena leucocephala is in bloom almost throughout the year, providing constant forage to honey bees.
Leucaena leucocephala is an excellent firewood species the wood burns steadily with little smoke, few sparks and produces less than 1% ash. It has fiber values similar to those of other tropical hardwoods, and it produces paper with good printability. Its pulping properties are suitable for both paper and rayon production. Also, used for particleboard production. The wood is known to be of medium density and to dry without splitting or checking. It is strong, medium textured, close grained and easily workable for a wide variety of carpentry purposes. Sawn timber, mine props, furniture and parquet flooring are among increasingly popular uses. Poles are used to prop bananas and as a support for yams, pepper and other vines.
Leucaena leucocephala is a plant of the tropics, it succeeds at altitudes up to 1,500 metres, occasionally to as high as 2,100 metres It grows best with a mean annual temperature in the range 25 - 30°c and a mean annual rainfall of 650 - 3,000mm. For optimal growth it is limited to areas 15 - 25° north or south of the equator.
Prefers a well-drained soil in full sun.Tolerant of a range of soils, including limestone, wet and dry soils, soils of volcanic origin and those with moderate levels of salt It is found in the wild on shallow limestone soils and coastal sand. Plants are very tolerant of drought and of salt-laden winds.