so another thread of research. lots of great info out there. at some point i'd love to have searchable databases of n-fixers and fast carbon pathway support species as a resource to the permaculture community. for now I offer these links and lists and thoughts.
From Koreen Brennan
Just found this resource for nitro fixing fodder legumes, wonderful! http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Publicat/Gutt-shel/x5556e00.htm#Contents
If I were to put in sub-tropical to tropical long term canopy tree legumes, these would be at the top of my list:
carob, tamarind, ice cream bean, tipuana tipu.
mainly because I like to eat the first three and would like to get experience with the fourth after hearing about it.
I'm surprised it gets so cold in Florida, what is your location? my understanding was that zone 9 was down to 20 F? microclimate possibilities? perhaps you can get some good varieties from NAFEX http://www.nafex.org/ or the rare fruit tree associations. http://www.crfg.org/ florida rare fruit http://www.rarefruit.org/
I love the work Julia Morton did in Fruits of the Warm Climates. I'm guessing there is lots more out there now, but haven't been researching tropics in a while.
Carob, Ceratonia siliqua: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/carob.html
tamarind, tamarindus indica http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/tamarind.html
Ice Cream Bean, Inga edulis http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/inga_edulis.html
Tipuana tipu http://www.public.asu.edu/~camartin/plants/Plant%20html%20files/tipuanatipu.html
Another FAO doc. http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/T0632E/T0632E02.htm
Suggests: prosopis sp as well.
Black Locust native to Southeast N. America.
casaurina pines? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casuarina Awesome non-rotting building material too.
more for understory? baptisia, lespedeza, ceanothus, tephrosia, senna, desmodium, perennial peanut, crotolaria, guessing there's many more
I have used most of the species noted in the FAO doc you shared and liked them in Hawai'i. never had an issue with spreading. if you like, cut them before seed formation. these are common n-fixers for tropical and sub-tropical use:
Gliricidia sp., Leucaena sp., Calliandra sp., Albizia sp., Acacia sp., Erythrina sp., Cassia sp., Parkinsonia sp., Inga sp., Sesbania sp., Crotalaria sp., ...
I have used cassia trees not sure on the species, birds absolutely loved them so even without N-fixing nodules, the import to the system was substantial.
other links to check out with some species listshttp://science.jrank.org/pages/3895/Legumes-Native-legumes-North-America.htmlhttp://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factpub/factsh.htm
I've some palownia planted in zone 5-6. no experience with zone 4. there i would definitely use Robinia, Elaeagnus, Gleditsia, and consider Sophora, alnus, gymnocladus, maackia, and cladrastis as overstory, many mid- understory, shepherdia, caragana, elaeagnus, baptisia, Hippophae, cercis, alnus, maybe amorpha canescens, all dependent on water availability and soil type etc....I might even go with rhamnus although I know people are sensitive about buckthorn in the midwest.
Perhaps a useful source is oikos tree crops http://www.oikostreecrops.com/store/home.asp and
lawyer seed and plant nursery http://www.lawyernursery.com/ worth getting the seed list/catalog many more species than bare roots
I forgot about this one which is also a list topper with many functions
Moringa oleifera and other Moringa sp. not legumes but fast carbon pathways and high nutrition value http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Moringa_oleifera.html
a permaculture article on ecologcal applications of moringa and mulberry with sites in florida mentioned http://www.perennialsolutions.org/cuba-mass-planting-moringa-and-mulberry
From Robyn Francis:
I live in humid subtropics and have some winter frosts.
The legumes I've had greatest success with are:
Perennial pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) great shrub legume, can plant quite closely, terrific chop-and-drop spp to build up mulch, and nurse plant for establishing other trees. Is affected by severe frost, however if densely planted they send out new shoots from lower stem and branches in spring. Nodulate prolifically so good N-fixers. Only live 3-4 years.
Tipuanu tipu - grows well but can grow quite large - I have these as an emergent canopy over my subtropical food forest. See a rare volunteer seedling popping up here and there, but are not invasive - or maybe the wallabies keep them in check.
Albizzia julibrissin are great smaller tree legume and very frost hardy (seen them growing in Europe) and have had no evidence of self seeding or invasive potential here.
Cow pea as a summer annual legume are quite prolific.
I don't recommend using dolichos or desmodium app (too invasive), also honey locust is a shocking weed in our climate here where folk have grown it - spreads prolifically especially along water courses as an impenetrable vicious thorny thicket. I've also eliminated Inga edulis as a tree legume in my system, it self seeds prolifically and the birds and fruit bats spread seed into nearby rainforest areas.
Have you looked into Tagasaste (Chamaecytisus palmensis) ? It doesn't like our heavy clay but grows well in more sandy soils in subtropics and temperate areas.
a switch back to temperate climate resources
What is definitely lacking on this list are non-N-fixing fast carbon pathways. lots out there, often called weeds which need re-assessment regarding utility and ecosystemic management.
feedback, comments, improvements, and additions welcome.
John Polk wrote:A lot of those links were not working for me.
Thanks John. I appreciate the quality control. I checked all the links and they all worked for me today except the temperate ones at the end. I fixed the problem which was three links bundled into one. now they work, I just double checked them.
please try again and let me know if something is not working.
for tropical and subtropical this is a great factsheet resource for nfts
Would it be worth compiling all these resources into a sorted plant list similar to the temperate climate permaculture site for temperate plants? does anyone want to collaborate on this?
These should do the trick:
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energ.../asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=1169 (Error 404 - Not Found)
Well, we only studied 5 in my dendrology class. I'm sure there are more.
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissan)
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Black Locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia)
Red Bud (Cercis canadensis)
Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus diocus)
I mostly use Black Locust for outdoor construction- posts, arbors, gates and such. I usually work it green, riving the logs with hammer and wedges and hewing off the sapwood with axes and adzes.I haven't yet seen one of the posts I've set rot and fail. Over 20 years in ground contact for some of them. But you don't have to do rough work. Boat builders love it, and it makes beautiful hardwood furniture. I'll post a picture of the plate I got this year from my favorite wood turner in the Eugene area. Any of the scrap makes firewood that has more heat to yield than mild coal. And I like to eat the flowers, which of course the bees also enjoy.
I don't think real highly of nativists who cut down Black Locusts and then poison the stumps because they don't know how to girdle a tree. (see the article on Black Locust in the Permaculture Activist, back a year or so) Maybe they just like to use herbicides.
I've used many other N-fixers with bamboo: Alders, including Red, Italian and Nepali, (they work great- but the wood is less useful than locust) Kentucky Coffee Tree (they don't like my climate, or maybe didn't have their rhizobium) and shrubs like Eleagnus and Ceanothus. (good for early succession) And Broom, although it gets people very upset because they hate it. I've been called dangerous because I said online that I could work with Scot's Broom and it improved the growth of other plants. (NB: I did NOT say I introduced broom in that case.) This person also did not disclose that they have been paid very well, thank you, to supervise contractors to mow and slash stands of broom because they've gotten the public to think of broom as an incredible menace to Western Civilization (that same civilization that has done so much to preserve the native ecology of N. America) I'll just note that I always grow much more than bamboo and black locust, and generally have native plant diversity much increased before I'm done, starting with lovely post-ag scenarios like dredge spoil with Eurasian weeds or a derelict strawberry field contaminated with pesticides to name two examples. So I'll build my grape arbor with black locust and bamboo, and the native fanatics can build theirs with pressure treated poison wood.
Honey Locust- Gleditsia triacanthos (plenty of other reasons to grow this one)
Red bud- Cercis canadensis
Kentucky coffee tree- Gymnocladus dioicus
American Yellowwood- Cladrastis kentukea (also known as C. lutea)
I believe both are in the buckthorn family.
by the way, its flower is the national flower of Argentina, so don't cry for it
I saw a tree legume in Sydney recently its pods /leaves were a bit like cassia but the bark was rough like angophera any ideas?
neil bertrando wrote:If I were to put in sub-tropical to tropical long term canopy tree legumes, these would be at the top of my list:
carob, tamarind, ice cream bean, tipuana tipu.
I have read that tamarind is not fixing nitrogen.
I have the same doubt for carob...
Bummer if they don't fix nitrogen but they are still cool trees with edible pods..
"While previously not believed to form nitrogen fixation nodules typical of the legume family, carob trees have been identified more recently with nodules containing bacteria believed to be from the Rhizobium genus."
And this is my reference for tamarind, they quote "none" for N fixation.
They are both interesting and both from the Caesalpinioideae family, but not the same tribe
and I find them very different about they climate requirement and carob is dioecidous.
I have planted some carob, and I sow tamarind, and still don't know if I will plant my seedling in my place!
Big tree and needs water... That they say it stands drought is not enough when they also say it needs between 1000mm and 2000mm of rain!
and another one is a rampant that grows also extremely well around here, it looks like a green bean of sorts, its name is Vicia Sativa(haba guacha, arbejita silvestre), I heard it's not edible but for people around here almost no wild plant seems to be edible, so I don't know, any thoughts?
I use in Reno, NV usda zone 6ish, hot, dry, etc.
Amorpha sp., several
in addition to all the great n-fixers
non-n fixin fast carbon pathways
always a fan of native grasses. ones that work well for me are indian ricegrass, needle and thread, western wheatgrass, squirreltail, hoping to transition to basin wildrye.
forbes, shrubs, trees, etc.
Orach, Atriplex hortensis
Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila
Mulberry, Morus alba
Rubber rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus naseousus
Walking Onion, Allium cernuum
comfrey, symphytum sp.
alfalfa, medicago sativa
sweet clover, melilotus alba
yarrow golden, Achillea sp.
yarrow meadow, Achillea millifolium
tumble mustard, Sysimbrium altissimum
kochia, Kochia scoparia
russian thistle, Sasola kali
last couple I use because they're already here, great for harvesting nutrients without added water, i run em through my vermicompost system first whenever possible
I'm also trialing succulents to protect the soil.
hardy ice plant, Delosperma sp.
cactus, Echinocerus sp.
stoneplant, sedum sp.
cold hardy prickly pear, opuntia sp.
Palmers penstemon, penstemon palmerii
would like to try more from HIgh and Dry book by Robert Nold
got tons of useful and edible natives starting in our nursery, plus seedling fruit and nut trees, perennial veggies, herbs, and annuals
might be worth perusing our catalog for some options. http://www.rtpermaculture.org/?page_id=17
that's it for now. back to packing bare roots
Jujube is a nitrogen-fixer?
David Goodman wrote:@Matt Saager
Jujube is a nitrogen-fixer?
If you're talking about the ziziphus family, it is believed that they are nitrogen fixers. Here's some research:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22763811--a previously unknown nitrogen fixing bacteria was taken from soil surrounding a zizyphus in China.