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Scientific Name: Alysicarpus vaginalis
Cultivars:Common types
Growth Habit:Erect, with thin stems, simple leaf (one leaflet per leaf), and leaf marks in the midvein; pink flowers.
Life Cycle:
  • Annual. Germination time is approximately 21 days.
  • Late-summer growing legume.
  • Origin:Old World Tropics and parts of temperate Asia
    Production Season:May to September
    Nutritive Value:
  • Varies depending on maturity (leaf:stem ratio)
  • Usually medium to high crude protein; medium to high digestibility. Crude protein is 16 to 18%, and digestibility (IVOMD) usually 60 to 70%
  • Well consumed by cattle and horses.
  • Use:
  • Grazing and hay
  • To complement grass production in late summer (lactating dairy cows)
  • Use on 2-yr rotation with peanut and bahiagrass in central Florida

  • Adaptation
    Soil:Sand to clay, with moderate fertility
    pH:5.5 -6.0
    Rainfall:Requires moist conditions but well-drained soils
    Temperature:Warm season

    Planting Date:Mid April to late June
    Planting Depth:0.5-1 inch
    Seeding Rate:
  • 15 to 20 lb/acre. Use the high rate when the seedbed and soil conditions are less favorable.
  • Inoculate seed with rhizobium bacteria (bradyrhizobium) in cross-inoculation cowpea group
  • Seed Cost:
  • $1.40/lb; $21 to 28/acre
  • Fertilization:For fertilization info click this link
  • 1.5 to 2 ton/acre (in hay production).
  • Hay should be cut when plants are 18-24 inches tall
  • In naturalized mixtures with perennial warm-season grasses, its dry matter production is low.
  • Nitrogen yield as an annual cover crop is 20-65 lb N/acre.

  • Notes
  • Grown throughout Florida.
  • Susceptible to root-knot nematodes (peanut root-knot, and southern root-knot nematode). If the field has history of vegetable crops (specially those in the cucurbit family: cucumber, melon, squash, pumpkin), it is something to be aware of as they attract nematodes. Some stunting should be expected.
  • If planted immediately after a highly fertilized crop such as melons, fertilizer or lime may not be needed.
  • Nitrogen is available 4 to 6 weeks or less after incorporation or decay in the soil depending on weathering conditions.
  • Dodder weed (Cuscusta/Cassytha spp. complex) is a parasitic vine that may kill the plant to the roots (control is difficult; remove and burn material or bury in soil 2 feet deep or more).

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