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Tephrosia candida - DC.

Common Name White Tephrosia
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards There are unconfirmed reports of the bark and roots being used as a fish poison[303 ]. Powdered leaves are used as an insecticide and the bark and roots are used as fish poison in India[418 ].
Habitats Primary and secondary forest, higher locations in sago-palm swamps and disturbed places such as roadsides, riverbanks, steep slopes and fields[303 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Nepal, Bhutan.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Tephrosia candida White Tephrosia
Tephrosia candida White Tephrosia


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Tephrosia candida is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cracca candida (DC.) Kuntze Kiesera sericea Reinw. Robinia candida Roxb. Xiphocarpus candidus (DC.)


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.

None known


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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: With its ability to fix large amounts of atmospheric nitrogen and produce a good bulk of biomass, white tephrosia is widely used in agroforestry as a green manure crop, to restore degraded land etc[303 ]. Not only does it provide nitrogen, the plant also raises soil phosphorus and potassium levels in proportion to increased levels of organic matter[303 ]. Soil structure improves, water-holding capacity and permeability increase, and soil losses caused by water erosion decrease[303 ]. It can yield well on acid soils; for example, in Vietnam, green-matter content of the soil increased from 1.7 to 4%[303 ]. White tephrosia is widely grown in mixed cultivation, for example with pineapple, maize and other annual crops, and it is said to improve the quality of tobacco. Cassava is a shade-sensitive species and needs regular lopped hedgerows, for which T. Candida is a very suitable species. It has been tried as an alley crop with cassava planted in 7-m-wide inter-rows. Preliminary results indicate a greatly increased yield of cassava and a considerable reduction of erosion[303 ]. It is grown as a temporary shade crop in newly planted perennial crops such as citrus, coconut, coffee, rubber and tea[303 ]. It has been used for rehabilitating degraded land[303 ]. Suitable for making hedges along contours, around fields and home gardens, as it is not eaten by domestic animals such as buffaloes and goats[303 ]. It is commonly used for hedgerows, providing mulch for different upland crops[303 ]. Other Uses Powdered leaves are used as an insecticide[303 ]. When the species becomes woody with age, it provides suitable fuel wood[303 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A plant of the seasonally dry tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,650 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 14 - 34°c[418 ]. It does not tolerate frost[303 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,400 - 1,800mm, but tolerates 700 - 2,700mm[418 ]. Prefers a sunny position, tolerating light shade[418 ]. Grows well on sandy soils in coastal areas and on very poor, eroded upland soils and mine spoils where few other crops can grow[303 ]. Plants are intolerant of waterlogged soils[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5, tolerating 3.5 - 7.5[418 ]. The more acidic soils seem to be more suitable[303 ]. White tephrosia is a deep rooting and can be slow to establish, but it grows steadily once established[303 ]. Maximum growth normally takes place in the 2nd year after planting, but with regular pruning a dense cover can be maintained for many years[303 ]. Annual biomass yields of about 12 - 18 tonnes per hectare can be obtained when the plant is grown with cassava, whilst 20 - 40 tonnes or more can be obtained when grown on its own[303 ]. Flowering times vary considerably - in Malaysia it flowers all year round, but it only flowers for 2 months of the year in Vietnam[303 ]. Over-mature pods will shatter and lose their seeds[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 ].


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Seed - soak the seed for 4 - 5 hours in warm water prior to sowing[303 ]. It should be sown just before or during the rainy season. The germination rate of fresh seed is 95 - 100%, but viability decreases rapidly unless seeds are stored in a cool, dry place[303 ]. When broadcasting, a planting density of 50 000-60 000/ha is aimed at, requiring 15-20 kg seed[303 ]. Seed storage behaviour is orthodox. No loss in viability following 3 years in either open storage or hermetic storage at room temperature with 13% ? 2% mc. There are between 300 and 500 seeds/kg[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tephrosia virginianaCatgut, Virginia tephrosiaPerennial0.6 4-8  LMHNDM02 
Tephrosia vogeliiFish-poison-bean,Shrub3.0 10-12 FLMHSNM022

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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