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Agati Growing Information Frances Michaels

Botanical Name:Sesbania grandiflora syn. Agati grandiflora syn. Aeschynomene grandiflora
Common Names: Agati, West Indian pea tree, gallito, agusta, bagphal, bak, pwa valye, agathi, flamingo bill, swamp pea, tiger tongue, vegetable-hummingbird, white dragon tree, gauai-gauai, katurai, pan, colbri vegetal, fagotier, fleur papillon, basma, chogache, hatiya, toroy, tuwi, ngkidi, kacang turi, petai belalang, sesban getih, agasti, anari, kathuru, murunga, baculo, cresta de gallo, gallito, paloma, pico de flamenco, zapaton blanco, peragathi, kae-ban, khae
Plant Family: Fabaceae
Origin: Malaysia and India

Plant Description
Small, upright and fast growing tropical legume tree, to a height of 10 m, with a trunk diameter of about 30 cm. The bole is straight and cylindrical, the wood white and soft. It has exceptionally large pea flowers which range in colour from white and pink through to red. The leaves are finely pinnate and the seedpods are long and narrow. It is adapted to both wet and dry regions of the tropics and is frost sensitive. Agati does best in warm humid areas, it does not tolerate temperatures below 10C. It will grow in a wide range of soils, even poor ones and will tolerate a wide pH range and salinity.

Planting Details
Sow When: Wait for warm, weather to sow; a soil temperature of at least 25C is needed. In subtropical areas sow November - December; in tropical areas sow October until January.
Seed Preparation: It can be direct sown or sown into seedling trays or forestry tubes for later transplanting. It is very important to use a free-draining seed raising mix and not over-water as it is prone to damping-off in the seedling stage.
Spacing: Plant out at 1.5 - 2 m spacings.
Details: Agati can be propagated by cuttings or seedlings. It has been found to be very susceptible to nematodes. It generally does not need inoculation. Protect young plants from all grazing animals.

Uses
  • Intercrop; it can be used as a shade or nurse tree particularly for black pepper. It nodulates freely and is believed to restore fertility.
  • Animal forage; the green leaves and pods are fed to cattle and goats.
  • Food; the young leaves, flowers and tender pods are all favourite Asian vegetables. In Thailand, the flowers are called dok khae, in Vietnam they are called so dua and in Indonesia they are known as bunga turi or kembang turi. The leaves contain over 36% crude protein (dry weight) and with their high mineral and vitamin content, they make a nutritious, spinach-like vegetable. They are used as greens, in stews, soups and curries but the centre of the flowers should be removed to reduce bitterness.
  • Agati can be used for ornamental plantings, living fences, windbreaks, gum and tannin production, pulp and paper production.
Available as seed: Agati

References
Edible Leaves of the Tropics, F W Martin and R M Ruberte, Mayaguez Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Firewood Crops; Shrub and Tree Species for Energy Production National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C., 1980
Tropical Legumes: Resources for the Future, National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C., 1979

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