Sesbania Cannabina (Tian Jing)
Herbs, annual, 3-3.5 m tall. Stems green or sometimes brown, smooth, with inconspicuous light greenish stripes, slightly glaucous, basally with many adventitious roots; young branches sparsely appressed villous, glabrescent, with white mucilage when broken. Stipules lanceolate, caducous. Leaves 40-60(-80)-foliolate; rachis 15-25 cm, sparsely appressed villous when young, glabrescent, adaxially grooved; petiolules ca. 1 mm, with sparsely appressed trichomes; stipels subulate, subequal to petiolules or shorter, persistent; leaflet blades opposite or subopposite, linear-oblong, 8-20(-40) × 2.5-4(-7) mm, smaller at both ends of rachis than in middle, both surfaces with appressed purplish glands but abaxially denser, abaxially sparsely appressed villous when young but glabrescent, adaxially glabrous, both ends asymmetric, base rounded, apex blunt to truncate and mucronate. Racemes 3-10 cm, 2-6-flowered, lax; peduncle slender, pendulous, sparsely appressed villous; bract linear-lanceolate, caducous. Pedicel slender, pendulous, sparsely appressed villous; bracteoles 2, caducous. Calyx obliquely campanulate, 3-4 mm, glabrous; teeth triangular, with 1-3 appendages between each, inner margin white slender pilose, apex acute. Corolla yellow; standard lamina transversely ovate to suborbicular, 9-10 mm, with a ca. 2 mm claw, base subrounded and with a small pyriform callus, apex retuse to rounded; wings obovate-oblong, ± as long as standard, ca. 3.5 mm wide, with transverse corrugation, base shortly auriculate, middle with dark grayish brown spots; keel broadly triangular-ovate, shorter than wings, as long as wide, with a ca. 4.5 mm claw, apex obtuse. Anthers ovate to oblong. Pistil glabrous; stigma capitate. Legume long terete, slightly curved, 12-22 cm × 2.5-3.5 mm, dehiscent, outside with dark brown stripes, trabeculate between seeds, carpopodium ca. 5 mm, apex acute and with a 5-7(-10) mm beak. Seeds 20-35 per legume, greenish brown, terete, ca. 4 × 2-3 mm, glossy; hilum rounded, slightly oblique to one end. Fl. and fr. Jul-Dec. 2n = 24.
Cultivated and sometimes naturalized in open wastelands and paddy field margins. Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Nei Mongol, Shandong, Shanxi, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [probably native to Australia and SW Pacific islands].
This species is widely cultivated for fibers and often naturalized in Africa, Asia, Australia, Indian Ocean Islands, and Pacific islands.
Botanical Name: Sesbania cannabina (Retz.) Pers.
Common name: Yellow Pea Bush; Sesbania Pea
Stem: Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.
Leaves: Stipules narrowly triangular, about 5-6 mm long. Leaflet blades about 5-22 x 1.5-5 mm.
Flowers: Calyx about 3-4 mm long with five +/- equal lobes. Standard about 6-10 mm long, spotted (reddish, brown or purple) on the outer surface. Stamens 10, the filaments of nine stamens fused and one stamen free. Ovary and style glabrous.
Fruit: Pods cylindrical, long and narrow, about 120-200 x 2-3 mm, slightly constricted between the seeds when dry. Seeds about 38 per pod, +/- cylindrical, about 3-4 x 1-2 mm, hilum lateral. Cotyledons green.
Seedlings: Cotyledons broadly oblong, about 15-17 x 6 mm, petioles 1.5-2 mm long. First leaf simple, oblong, elliptic to slightly obovate, about 17 x 5.5 mm, apex mucronate, base obtuse, petiole about 2 mm long. Second leaf compound with about 8 opposite leaflets. Leaflets oblong to elliptical, about 13.5-16 x 4-4.5 mm, apex mucronate, base obtuse and oblique. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves compound with 40 or more leaflets in each leaf, leaflet blades oblong with a mucro at the apex. Stipules narrowly triangular, about 7 mm long. Small peg-like glands present on the upper surface of the compound leaf axis at the point of attachment of each leaflet.
Distribution and Ecology
Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards to Victoria and South Australia. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Often growing in saline situations on heavy clay soils in open forest but occasionally found on the margins of rain forest, monsoon forest or vine thickets. Also occurs in Africa, India, China, Malesia and the Pacific islands.
Low to moderate palatability. Tolerant of salinity and alkalinity. May cause weed problems on heavy soils under irrigation. Hacker (1990).