Foliar nutrient and nutritive content of Central American multipurpose tree species growing at Comayagua, Honduras
Seedlings from a collection of 20 Central American dryland tree and shrub species were planted in the Comayagua valley on alluvial soil, within their native range. The species comprise <i>Moringa oleifera, Leucaena salvadorensis, Mimosa tenuifolia, Gliricidia sepium, Guazuma ulmifolia, Parkinsonia aculeata, Albizia niopoides, Acacia deamii, Acacia farnesiana, Caesalpinia coriaria, Caesalpinia eriostachys, Albizia saman, Senna atomaria, Simarouba glauca, Prosopis julijlora, Crescentia alata, Cordia alliodora, Swietenia humilis, Enterolobium cyclocarpum </i>and Hymenaea coubaril. Their performance and nutritional health in their native range is of interest to foresters growing them as exotics. Foliage samples were collected from the trees in a replicated, designed trial at the end of their second growing season. There were very large variations in foliar nutrient content between species (threefold for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; sevenfold for calcium and magnesium and six-fold for boron), which were not related simply to the relative size differences of the plants. There could be an opportunity to use specific species to raise specific soil nutrient levels by mulching or to use fodder to redress animal health problems caused by poor mineral nutrition. Four of the species tested might be poor sources of animal fodder - Simarouba glauca and Crescentia data because of low N content and high fibre content and<i> Caesalpinia coriaria</i> and Caesalpinia eriostachys because of high lignin content.
Commonwealth Forestry Review (1993) 72 (3) 193-197