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Jointvetch, American
(Aescynomene americana)

Jointvetch - illustration  
  • vigorous erect perennial
  • for wet soils in coastal tropics or subtropics
  • tolerates low fertility
  • persistent and prostrate under grazing and waterlogging.

Aeschynomene americana L. -1 branch with leaves; 2 flowering and fruiting branch.

The villose jointvetches will grow under similar conditions to the American jointvetches

Glenn grows well in low-lying coastal country that is seasonally waterlogged. Although erect and tall (to 2 m) when not grazed, it develops a branched prostrate habit under grazing. Jointvetch seeds heavily when erect making seed easy to harvest, but also seeds well under grazing so that cattle soon spread jointvetch through all their paddocks.

Glenn is an annual, flowering fairly late (late April) and setting seed by June. Cool weather in southern Queensland reduces seed set, while early frost will kill the plants making it virtually worthless for winter feed.

Glenn regenerates from seed best in a sparse grass cover after a dry northern spring, dense grass swards following early spring rains preventing good regeneration. It combines well with many grasses, frequently being sown with Kazungula setaria on low-lying wet-lands.

The best management for a persistent content of this palatable legume is to graze the grass heavily before germinating rains, graze lightly to allow Glenn to establish, graze heavily again during summer, and finally to slacken off after late April to allow seeding.

Glenn has caused problems when it has been planted in waterlogged sites in the monsoonal areas of northern Australia and in melonhole country in the brigalow lands. It grows so well during summer that it pushes out less vigorous grasses. With the onset of dry or frosty weather, Glen is defoliated leaving a stand of virtually worthless stalks as the only feed available.

Cv. Lee is a late-flowering variety which acts more as a perennial, being able to persist over mild winters and to flower in spring. Lee holds its leaf much better than Glenn during winter in Queensland. With the stronger dry seasons of the monsoonal regions, Lee behaves only as a late-flowering annual.

The villose jointvetches are perennial species.

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 14 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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