Identity of Dhaincha solved (it's a _Sesbania_)
Thanks to everyone who replied to my request for help in identifying
the mysterious "dhaincha". From the context of the original reference
that stared the chase, there is no doubt dhaincha is a sesbania. But
there is still scope for some argument about the species - sounds like
it might be time for a good revision of _Sesbania_ [anyone know of one
There was some minor confusion due to the similarity of "dhaincha" to
the Hindi "dhania" or coriander. Fortunately, this small red herring
arrived after the clue to the real thing had been investigated, so no
false trails were followed :-)
For those who may be interested, here is a synopsis of what I found:-
Evans, D.O. and Rotar, P.P. (1987) "Sesbania in Agriculture"
(Westview Press, Boulder & London) Pp. xiii+192.
To quote: "Because of the ability of _Sesbania_ species to grow in heavy
soils, withstand waterlogging and flooding, and tolerate soil salinity,
they are often the preferred green manure crop for rice. 'Dhaincha',
the common name of the species used in India, is often designated as
_S. aculeata_ which was revised to _S. bispinosa_. The name _S. cannabina_
is usually given for the annual sesbania used in China, and is occasionally
used by Indian writers." (p. 27)
E&R go on to say that there appears to be confusion in the naming of these
three species, plus _S. sericea_. They received seed under all these names
and the plants were similar in morphological and agronomic characteristics
when grown in Hawaii. Botanical specimens sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens
at Kew, England, were all named as _S. cannabina_ (by one G.P. Lewis).
Going on the above and other sources, there seems little doubt that the name
_S. aculeata_ Pers. is now regarded as synonymous with the correct name
_S. bispinosa_ (Jacq.) Wight. And _S. cannabina_ may actually be the same
species too, in which case I don't know which name would take precedence :)
Ian Staples E-mail : email@example.com
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