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Gliricidia Growing Information Frances Michaels

Botanical Name:Gliricidia sepium syn. G. maculata
Common Names: Mexican lilac, Madre de cacao, Cacao de nance, cacahnanance, Kakawate, Mata Raton, Madriado, Quickstick, glory cedar, nicaraguan cacao shade, Saint Vincent plum, tree of iron
Plant Family: Fabaceae
Origin: Central America

Plant Description
A small, thornless tree that grows to 10 m high. It has an open crown and an often contorted trunk that is 30 cm or less in diameter. It produces dense masses of attractive white or pink flowers. It is only suited to frost-free areas.

Planting Details
Sow When: Sow during the wet season, when soil temperature is over 25C.
Seed Preparation: Soak the seed in hot water, cool off during the night, sow the next morning. Sow individual seeds in containers such as recycled milk cartons or forestry tubes. Transplant while the ground is still moist.
Planting Depth: cover seed lightly and firm down.
Spacing: Plant out at 1 - 2 m spacings.
Details: Gliricidia seedlings establish better under shade than in full sun.

  • Intercrop; it is ideal as a shade tree for crops such as cacao, coffee, vanilla and tea, the foliage is rich in nitrogen and can be cut as mulch.
  • Fuelwood; very useful as a firewood with a calorific value of 4,900 kcal per kg, it also coppices well.
  • Timber; the wood finishes smoothly and is suitable for furniture and tool handles. It is highly resistant to termites and decay and is also used for posts and heavy construction.
  • Living fence; Gliricidia is easily propagated by cuttings, provided there is ample soil moisture. Even large branches will sprout roots and grow when they are stuck in the ground. A row of these makes a very effective living fence or windbreak that will last many years without maintenance.
  • Fodder; the leaves contain over 20% crude protein and are nutritious for cattle but are TOXIC TO HORSES AND MOST OTHER ANIMALS.
  • Bee forage; good source of nectar for bees.
Available as seed: Gliricidia

Firewood Crops; Shrub and Tree Species for Energy Production, National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C., 1980

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