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Calopogonium mucunoides - Desv.

Common Name Calopo, Wild ground nut
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range Tropical America and the West Indies.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Calopogonium mucunoides Calopo, Wild ground nut

Calopogonium mucunoides Calopo, Wild ground nut
Alex Popovkin lickr.com/people/12589168@N00


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Calopogonium mucunoides is a CLIMBER growing to 5 m (16ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Calopogonium brachycarpum Hemsl. Calopogonium orthocarpum Urb.Glycine javanica "sensu Backer, non L." Stenolobium brachycarpum Benth.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

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.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fodder  Green manure  Mulch  Pioneer  Soil conditioner  Soil stabilization

Agroforestry Uses: A valuable pioneer legume, planted as a green manure to protect the soil surface, reduce soil temperature, fix atmospheric nitrogen, improve soil fertility and control the growth of weeds[310 ]. It is an important cover crop for plantation crops, especially rubber and oil palm, where it is often grown in a mixture with centro (Centrosema pubescens) and tropical kudzu (Pueraria phaseoloides)[310 ]. Calopo grows vigorously, shedding a large amount of leaf litter onto the soil which smothers most weeds[310 ]. The effect of calopo and associated legumes in improving soil fertility may last for 14 - 16 years. In an experiment in Malang, Indonesia, a green manure crop of calopo grown for 3 months contained about 65 kg/ha nitrogen in its leaves, shoots and roots[310 ]. Calopo is a pioneer species: it provides soil protection against erosion, reduces soil temperature, improves soil fertility and controls weeds (Cook et al., 2005; Chin Chen Peng et al., 1997). Although not widely used, calopo is the most popular legume amongst Brazilian farmers and is the legume seed produced in greatest volume in Brazil (Pizarro, 2001). Other Uses: None known

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Agroforestry Services: Understory legume  Fodder: Bank  Management: Fodder  Minor Global Crop

Calopo is a plant of the hot humid tropics, where it succeeds at elevations from sea level to 2,000 metres, though it is best adapted to elevations of 300 - 1,500 metres[310 ]. It grows best in areas where the annual rainfall exceeds 1,250 mm[310 ]. Plants are not tolerant of frost[310 ]. Vigorous growth occurs on soils of all textures[310 ]. Succeeds in very acid soils with a pH as low as 4.5 - 5[310 ]. Requires a sunny position - growth declines markedly if the plant is shaded[310 ]. Plants are moderately drought-tolerant but may die out if the dry season is prolonged[310 ] Calopo grows rapidly and is able to cover the soil in 3 - 6 months after sowing and even sooner on newly cleared, fertile land. It forms a dense entangled sward in 4 - 5 months after sowing, but the plants are short-lived and may only persist for 1 - 2 years[310 ]. When grown as a cover crop in plantation crops in a mixture with tropical kudzu and centro, calopo is the first to become established but also the first to be shaded out. Long-term persistence is through recruitment of new plants from seedlings. The root system is dense and rather shallow, its deepest roots reaching a depth of about 50 cm[310 ]. Flowering in calopo is initiated by short days. It is self-pollinated and seeds freely[310 ]. 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: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Agroforestry Services: Understory legume  Legume vegetation, especially the trees and shrubs growing between the forest canopy and the forest floor.
  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Management: Fodder  Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • 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.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Calopo is usually propagated by seed, sown at 1-3 kg/ha. Seed is normally drilled in rows when sown into new plantations or broadcast in stands to be used for forage production. After seed is broadcast, the seed-bed may be rolled to improve establishment. Newly harvested seed usually has more than 75% hard seed. Mechanical scarification, soaking in concentrated sulphuric acid for 30 minutes, or soaking in hot water (75C) for 3 minutes is recommended to enhance germination. Although calopo stems root at the nodes when in contact with moist soil the establishment of stem cuttings inserted directly into soil is generally poor. Use of pre and post-emergence herbicides or hand weeding promotes the establishment of calopo. As calopo nodulates promiscuously with native rhizobia, seeds are usually not inoculated. If inoculum is applied, then cowpea strains such as the Australian CB 756 are used. When planted as a cover crop in plantations it is usually sown in a mixture with other legumes such as Calopogonium caeruleum, Centrosema pubescens and Pueraria phaseoloides with 1-3 kg/ha of calopo in a total mixture of 10- 15 kg/ha of legume seed. When sown for forage production, calopo has been successfully used in mixtures with stoloniferous grasses, such as molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora Beauv.) and Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth), and with tussock grasses such as setaria (Setaria sphacelata (Schumacher) Stapf & Hubbard ex M.B. Moss). Good results have been obtained from oversowing it into existing stands of pangola grass (Digitaria eriantha Steud.) which have been harrowed

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Calopo, wild ground nut; santing, karaparapak, thua karopo, bejuco culebra, calopogônio, calopogonio indico, falso oró, rabo de iguana, jequirana, cama; marmelada de boi, mielillo, orelha de onça ; kacang asu, Lamdau long

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Found In

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

Africa, Asia, Australia, Burkina Faso, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, Central America, China, East Africa, Guiana, Guianas, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mozambique, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Sao Tome and Principe, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, South America, Suriname, Taiwan, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa.

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.

Due to its agressive development and allelopathy towards the seeds of other species, Calopogonium mucunoides can become a localized weed in humid-tropical environments. It is considered a weed in tropical ecosystems in northern Australia (Northern Territory and Queensland), in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia and in many Pacific Islands (Samoa, Mariana Islands, Cook Islands, French Polynesia)

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Calopogonium caeruleumWild jicamaClimber5.0 10-12 FLMHFSNM004

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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Botanical References

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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