Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Special-Purpose Legume Species Curated at the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit for Use As New Ornamentals and Potentially New Phytopharmaceuticals

Authors
item Morris, John
item Knauft, D - UNIVERSITY OF GA

Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 28, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Morris, J.B., Knauft, D. 2008. Special-Purpose Legume Species Curated at the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit for Use As New Ornamentals and Potentially New Phytopharmaceuticals. American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting. ASHS Meeting Abstracts. 43:1266-1267.

Technical Abstract: Some special-purpose legumes conserved at the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA produce ornate flowers to be utilized in the ornamental nursery markets. Various phytochemicals are known to exist in many of these legume species with potential nutraceutical or pharmaceutical uses as well. The objectives of this study were to determine ornamental traits in Chamaecrista spp., Clitoria ternatea, Crotalaria breviflora, Desmodium spp., Indigofera hochstetteri, I. miniata, I. schimperi, Senna alata, S. corymbosa, S. marilandica, S. occidentalis, and Tephrosia vogelii and discuss some noteable useful health enhancing phytochemicals from these species. Plants from each of these were grown in pots or in small garden plots containing potting soil. Ornamental traits recorded included flower color and flower production. We observed beautiful flower colors ranging from white to purple in legumes evaluated. Some of the more vivid species for ornamental flowers include the multitude of bright yellow candle shaped flowers produced by S. alata. Variation in plant stature were observed among these legume species. On-going research devoted to breeding several of these species for adaptation as well as optimizing flower production continues. A review of the literature revealed several potentially useful phytochemicals. The alkaloid, tyramine found in S. alata leaves has been clinically shown to inhibit insulin release in humans and the flavonoid deguelin from Tephrosia vogelii leaves has shown anticancer activities. These legumes not only provide immediate ornamental flowers for the landscape but they will also provide breeders with germplasm for use in development of nursery potted plants as well as candidate species for novel phytopharmaceutical uses.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page