Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2006
Publication Date: 9/30/2006
Citation: Klassen, W., Codallo, M., Zasada, I.A., Abdul-Baki, A. 2006. Characterization of velvetbean (mucuna pruriens) lines with respect to morphological traits, phenology, and biomass production. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 119:258-262
Interpretive Summary: Cover crops are plants grown at a time when the primary crop of interest cannot. Cover crops have many positive attributes; they provide ground cover thereby reducing erosion, produce nitrogen thereby decreasing the need for nitrogen fertilizers, and may control pests such as the microscopic worms called nematodes. The cover crop velvetbean may be well suited for incorporation into south Florida vegetable production systems because it can be grown during the hot summer months when most vegetables will not grow. One problem with using velvetbean in these production systems is that the suitability of different velvetbean varieties for the tropical south Florida environment is not known. Therefore, in this study, University of Florida and ARS scientists grew ten velvetbean varieties in south Florida field experiments and then measured several aspects of their growth. The varieties were found to differ in the length of time required to mature, and in the amount of leaves, vines, and seeds produced. The results are significant because they provide an indication of the relative merits of specific velvetbean varieties when grown in south Florida. Consequently, the results will be used by agronomists recommending specific velvetbean varieties for incorporation by growers into vegetable production systems.
Technical Abstract: Velvetbean is a vigorous annual legume which possesses many positive agronomic attributes. The plant provides ground cover and thereby reducing erosion, fixes nitrogen reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizers, and suppresses several pests and pathogens reducing pesticide applications. The phenology, morphology and biomass production of ten velvetbean lines, including 'Georgia Bush'were evaluated at Homestead, FL. The lines varied in geographical origin and seed color. For the various lines the number of days from seeding to first floral buds ranged from 43-135 days, to first blooms 60-153 days, and to first pods 68-160 days. Half of the lines had an indeterminate flowering habit, while four of the lines and 'Georgia Bush’ were determinant. Biomass at maturity ranged from 2.79 to 7.7 Mg/ha. The selection of a line that produces large amounts of biomass and matures rapidly is desirable from a cover crop perspective.