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Crotalaria karagwensis Taub.

Protologue
Engl., Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas C: 204 (1895).
Family
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Synonyms
Crotalaria lugardiorum Bullock (1932).
Origin and geographic distribution
Crotalaria karagwensis is distributed in Central and East Africa, from Cameroon to Ethiopia and southward to DR Congo and Tanzania.
Uses
The seeds of Crotalaria karagwensis are considered edible in Kenya.
Properties
Various toxic compounds (alkaloids and non-protein amino acids) are present in Crotalaria spp., but toxin levels in Crotalaria karagwensis are not known.
Botany
Erect, annual herb up to 1 m tall, often with spreading, weakly ascending branches from the base; stem appressed hairy. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules linear-subulate, up to 3.5 mm long; petiole 1–2 mm long; blade linear-lanceolate to elliptical, 1.5–11.5 cm × 2–12 mm, acute to rounded at apex, appressed hairy beneath. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary lax raceme 9–24 cm long, (6–)10–24-flowered. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous; pedicel c. 5 mm long; calyx (4. 5–)6–8 mm long, upper lobes narrowly attenuate-triangular, longer than the tube; corolla yellow, standard elliptical, c. 9 mm × 7 mm, with reddish-purple veins, wings c. 7 mm × 2–3 mm, keel angular, 7–11 mm × 4 mm, with a long straight twisted beak; stamens 10, all joined; ovary superior, oblong, c. 3.5 mm long, 1-celled, style c. 7 mm long. Fruit an oblong, club-shaped pod, narrowed basally into a 2–3 mm long stipe, c. 2.5 cm × 3.5 cm × 0.5 cm, 15–34-seeded. Seeds obliquely heart-shaped, 1.5–4 mm in diameter, smooth.
Crotalaria comprises about 600 species distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics, with about 500 species in tropical Africa. Crotalaria karagwensis belongs to section Crotalaria, subsection Longirostres. In this subsection levels of toxic compounds are in general relatively low, although most species contain the free amino acid γ-glutamyltyrosine.
Ecology
Crotalaria karagwensis occurs at 1100–2300 m altitude in grassland and woodland; it also persists on roadsides and in cultivated land.
Genetic resources and breeding
No germplasm collections of Crotalaria karagwensis are known to exist. In view of its wide distribution Crotalaria karagwensis is not threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
It is unclear to what extent Crotalaria karagwensis seeds are eaten in tropical Africa. More information is needed on the levels of toxic compounds in the seeds and appropriate processing methods to eliminate these compounds.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
• Gillett, J.B., Polhill, R.M., Verdcourt, B., Schubert, B.G., Milne-Redhead, E., & Brummitt, R.K., 1971. Leguminosae (Parts 3–4), subfamily Papilionoideae (1–2). In: Milne-Redhead, E. & Polhill, R.M. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 1108 pp.
• Pilbeam, D.J. & Bell, E.A., 1979. Free amino acids in Crotalaria seeds. Phytochemistry 18: 973–985.
• Polhill, R.M., 1982. Crotalaria in Africa and Madagascar. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 389 pp.
• Thulin, M., 1989. Fabaceae (Leguminosae). In: Hedberg, I. & Edwards, S. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia. Volume 3. Pittosporaceae to Araliaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 49–251.
Other references
• Hepper, F.N., 1958. Papilionaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 505–587.
• ILDIS, 2005. World database of Legumes, Version 9,00. International Legume Database & Information Service. [Internet] http://biodiversity.soton.ac.uk/LegumeWeb. Accessed June 2005.
• Toussaint, L., Wilczek, R., Gillett, J.B. & Boutique, R., 1953. Papilionaceae (première partie). In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 4. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. 314 pp.
Author(s)
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
G. Belay
Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization, Debre Zeit Center, P.O. Box 32, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia
Associate editors
J.M.J. de Wet
Department of Crop Sciences, Urbana-Champaign, Turner Hall, 1102 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, United States
O.T. Edje
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Swaziland, P.O. Luyengo, Luyengo, Swaziland
E. Westphal
Ritzema Bosweg 13, 6706 BB Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Photo editor
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2006. Crotalaria karagwensis Taub. In: Brink, M. & Belay, G. (Editors). PROTA 1: Cereals and pulses/Céréales et légumes secs. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.