An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

HEMP SESBANIA, Colorado River hemp, big-podded sesbania


PEA FAMILY-Leguminosae

HEMP SESBANIA-Sesbania exaltata (Raf.) Rydb. (S. macrocarpa Muhl.)

DESCRIPTION-Tall, entirely hairless annual, 3 to 13 feet high, which reproduces by seed. Smooth, sparingly branched stems with widespreading branches. Large compound leaves, alternate, 2 to 12 inches long, with 10 to 40 pairs of small leaflets about l/2 to 1 inch long, and 1/4 inch broad.

The pealike flowers are yellow, often purple spotted, about 1/2 inch long, borne on short flowering stalks in the axils of the upper leaves, with 2 to 6 flowers per stalk. The fruit is a slender pod, 4 to 8 inches long and about l/8 inch broad, tipped with a slender beak. There are 15 to 40 seeds in each pod, with thick partitions between each seed when mature. The dark brown shiny seeds are capsuleshaped with squarish ends, about 1/8 inch long.

DISTRIBUTION-Hemp sesbania is a native weed growing along the Colorado River bottom lands of southern Mohave and Yuma counties; 100 to about 4,000 feet elevation; flowering March to October. Sometimes grown as a green manure crop in citrus orchards and farms in southern Arizona, then spreading along irrigation ditches and roadsides. After using it as a cover crop in the Yuma region, it appeared in about 70 percent of the cotton fields in that area. Hemp sesbania is a fiber plant, producing very strong smooth threads which are used by the Yuma Indians for nets and fish lines.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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