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Tephrosia vogelii - Hook.f.

Common Name Fish-poison-bean,
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The plant contains compounds that are used as insecticides and can be toxic to humans[418 ].
Habitats Found in widely varying habitats, including savannah-like vegetation, grassland, forest margins and shrubland, wasteland and fallow fields[303 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Sudan, south to Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Tephrosia vogelii Fish-poison-bean, - James Steakley
Tephrosia vogelii Fish-poison-bean, - Roger Culos


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Tephrosia vogelii is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cracca vogelii (Hook.f.) Kuntze Tephrosia periculosa Baker


Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Used as an abortifacient, emetic, bactericide, purgative and cure for skin diseases, schistosomiasis, ringworm and parasitic infections[303 ]. Leaf decoctions are used in the treatment of scabies and yaws; a weak infusion of the leaves is taken as an anthelmintic[303 ]. Root decoctions are used to treat constipation[303 ].


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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The plant grows quite quickly, produces a good bulk and also fixes atmospheric nitrogen[303 ]. It is often cultivated as a green manure, windbreak and temporary shade crop in cocoa, coffee, tea, rubber, coconut and cinchona plantations[303 ]. In acid soils, it grows much better than Leucaena leucocephala, forming root nodules and fixing atmospheric nitrogen where the latter does not[303 ]. Because of its dense growth, it is suitable as a hedge plant[303 ]. Other Uses: The dry, crushed leaves are used as insecticide against lice, fleas and ticks, and also as a molluscicide[303 ]. Tephrosine is the poisonous principal[303 ]. The plant can be used in the manufacture of the insecticide rotenone[418 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Industrial Crop: Pesticide  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Minor Global Crop

A plant of tropical regions, where it is found at elevations from sea level up to 2,100 metres[303 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 28°c, but can tolerate 10 - 32°c[418 ]. The plant can survive temperatures down to about -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,300 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 870 - 2,700mm[418 ]. Prefers a sunny position, tolerating light shade[418 ]. Grows well on andosols that are not subject to flooding and on well drained loams[303 ]. Tolerant of poor soils, though it grows more slowly and is more prone to diseases[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[418 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[303 ]. Tolerant of strong winds[303 ]. Under favourable conditions, the plant grows quickly and is tolerant of repeated pruning[303 ]. It can reach a height of 2 - 3 metres in just 7 months[418 ]. A short-lived plant[418 ]. Plants can flower and produce seeds all year round[418 ]. Plants are quite tolerant of fire, usually resprouting readily afterwards due to its deep root system[303 ]. If the plants are weakly branched, they should be lopped to promote branching[303 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Linear plantings of trees and shrubs designed to enhance crop production, protect people and livestock and benefit soil and water conservation.
  • Industrial Crop: Pesticide  Many plants provide natural pesticides.
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.


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Seed - preferably, fresh seed should be stored for 2 months before planting[303 ]. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 - 24 hours in warm water (45°c) improves germination[303 ]. Without treatment, the germination percentage is 65%, and the seedling survival rate about 60%[303 ]. The seed stores well with no loss in viability over 2 - 3 years in open storage[303 ]. Air-dried seed can be stored in sealed containers for at least 1.5 years[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bantaculudje, Bantamaro, Doankiem vogel, Kibaazi, Igongo, Umurukuruku, Fish bean,kibaazi, kibazi, mibaazi, mtupa, Fish-poison bean, utupa wa kibaazi, Fish-poison-tree, utupa wa kingindo, Vogel’s Tephrosia, utupa wa mrima

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Angola, Asia, Australia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America, China, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Lao, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, South America, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tephrosia candidaWhite TephrosiaShrub3.0 10-12 MLMSNM004
Tephrosia virginianaCatgut, Virginia tephrosiaPerennial0.6 4-8  LMHNDM02 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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