Animal feed resources information system

American jointvetch (Aeschynomene americanum)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This datasheet is pending revision and updating; its contents are currently derived from FAO's Animal Feed Resources Information System (1991-2002) and from Bo Göhl's Tropical Feeds (1976-1982).


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Common names 

American jointvetch, joint vetch, shyleaf, deervetch, thornless mimosa, bastard sensitive plant, antejuela, cujicillo, dormilona, golondrina regada, huevos de rana, pega pega, pega ropa, plumon, ronte, kacang meongan, asem aseman, anjang, makahiyang-lalaki (also A. indica ), karaparak, sano don, sano bok, sano khon, pötuk, rokdönao, rui köjing


Aeschynomene americana L. var. depila Mill., Aeschynomene glandulosa Poir., Aeschynomene guayaquilensis G. Don, Aeschynomene javanica Miq. var. luxurians Miq., Aeschynomene mexicana Colla, Aeschynomene mimulosa Miq., Aeschynomene tricholoma Standley & Steyerm., Hippocrepis mimulosa Noronha

Feed categories 
Related feed(s) 

American jointvetch (Aeschynomene americana) is an annual legume primarily used for pasture or in cut-and-carry systems. It can be cut for hay before maturity (USDA, 2006). In the wild, it is grazed by deers while quail, dove, and turkey eat the seed. It can also be used as components of fresh water wetland reclamation seedings (USDA, 2006).

There is a report from Florida of A. americanum sown in association with Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum). Shrubs with sensitive leaves and lightweight pith. Some wood used for rafts and floats.


Jointvetch is an upright nativeford or subshrub, annual to short-lived perennial legume, growing 0.5 to 2 m in height, depending on ecotype (USDA, 2006; Cook et al., 2005). The stems are well-branched, about 1.5-2 mm in diameter and moderately leafy, somewhat woody and over 20 mm  in diameter when maturing (USDA, 2006; Cook et al., 2005). The leaves are pinnately compound about 3-8 cm long. They bear 8 to 60 oblong to linear, ciliate leaflets, 3-15 mm long x1-3 mm wide, grey green to dark green in colour, sensitive to light and touch and thus folding on the rachis (USDA, 2006; Cook et al., 2005). The flowers are yellow-orange or yellow with dark lines or pinkish to pale mauve in colour. They appear as loose branched clusters (USDA, 2006). The fruit is a slightly curved pods


Forage management 

Aeschynomene is a true annual legume that flowers and produces seed in the early fall. Plants usually die after seed has matured, but the stand can be managed to re-seed and maintain itself in good production for several years after first establishment (Seedland). Aeschynomene is adapted to moist sites and grows best in moist fertile soil. It is more tolerant of extremely wet conditions than of drought. During establishment, good surface drainage is necessary. Although well-established plants can withstand short periods of flooding, young plants (seedlings) can be injured or killed if plants are completely submerged in water. In general, it is adapted to the moist flat wooded areas throughout the south-eastern USA (Seedland).

Seeding dates can be critical to successful establishment of Aeschynomene Americana. Aeschynomene is usually planted in June when the summer rains start. It has been planted successfully in April and May when spring rainfall has been above normal. Stand failure of Aeschynomene is mainly caused by inadequate soil moisture at or shortly after seeding (Seedland). Planting is best done at the onset of the wet season (from June to July in central Florida; Hodges et al., 1982). Initial season production is reduced from later plantings. The recommended planting rate in Florida is 5 kg/ha of dehulled seed or 12 kg/ha of seed in pods (Hodges et al., 1982). The authors recommend planting no deeper than 2.5 cm since seedling emergence is reduced at greater depths.

The better the seed bed the better the establishment, but it has been satisfactorily established into existing pastures in the Mackay region of central Queensland, with a simple renovation and subsequent broadcasting of seed. In subsequent years, regeneration occurs without further soil disturbance (Hodges et al., 1982). Seed in pod or dehulled seed can be drilled into fully prepared seed beds or introduced into existing sown or native pastures using strip cultivation and planting methods. Herbicidal treatments and sod-seeding can also be used (Hodges et al., 1982). When Aeschynomene is seeded into new land or into fields where a summer legume has never been grown deer vetch seed should be inoculated with the cowpea group of inoculants (Seedland).

In the seedling regeneration phase at the beginning of each growing season, joint vetch can be susceptible to competition from more vigorous grasses. Once established, the tall and erect growing plants can stand competition. There are few legumes adapted to the wet locations, so these rarely worry American joint vetch (Hodges et al., 1982). Once seedlings are established, growth is vigorous and difficult to control. It continues until full flowering is achieved. Once maturity commences, growth ceases. After frosting, residues rapidly break down (Hodges et al., 1982). Since it is an annual or short-lived perennial, it is important for grazing management to favour seed set from time to time. If high levels of seed set are required, stock should be excluded prior to flowering, since little growth is produced once flowering commences. However, significant amounts of seed can still be set in low swards under grazing (www.tropicalforages.info/.../Aeschynomene_americana).

In Florida, initial growth is slow. Plants require 60 - 70 days to reach a height of 60 cm and need special care at this stage. In existing stands the area should be heavily grazed over winter, after seed set is complete, but grazing should cease when seedlings reach a height of 5 cm, and not recommence until they are 45 cm tall (Hodges et al., 1982). According to Hodges et al. (1982) the only stage when special attention to grazing management is required is during seedling establishment. In Australia, continuous grazing is then practised on most pastures and American joint vetch accepts this well. In Florida, with rotational grazing, a 3- to 5-week regrowth period between grazing is recommended for maximum production.

Seed is readily harvested with a conventional wheat header. Crops need to be sprayed with insecticide at flowering to control pod-boring insects. Seed crops in northern Queensland are invariably attacked by powdery mildew late in the season, but this does not appear to cause any trouble (J.M. Hopkinson, personal communication). Yields of seed in pod as high as 2 tonnes/ha have been obtained from small plots in Queensland (J.M. Hopkinson, personal communication).

Nutritional aspects

Experimental plantations of Aeschynomene americana are sometime grazed and partly destroyed by wild rabbits in Florida (Deren et al., 1989). From this observation it can be assumed that fresh A. americana is palatable and non toxic for rabbits. Nevertheless some direct experiments on domestic rabbit feeding with Aeschynomene americana are necessary before this plant would be recommended for rabbits.

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 
Datasheet citation 

DATASHEET UNDER CONSTRUCTION. DO NOT QUOTE. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/569 Last updated on June 16, 2017, 18:44

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