Evaluation of Diversity among North American Accessions of False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa L.) for Forage and Biomass

Abstract

False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa L.) is a perennial leguminous shrub native to North America. The species could potentially be used for livestock forage, biomass energy, reclamation of degraded environments, or as green manure. Future work with the species will depend upon knowledge of available accessions. Our objectives were to determine (1) the range of diversity among accessions, (2) the correlations among traits across locations, and (3) the distribution of variation among accessions. We studied 21 accessions grown at two locations and a subset of 15 accessions grown at a third location. We measured 47 morphological, agronomic, and phenological traits. All traits were influenced by accession in at least one location (p < 0.05). The mean dry matter (DM) biomass yield of accessions in August ranged from 53 to 1515 g plant−1 and was correlated across locations. False indigo had a high second-year leaf concentration, averaging 660 g kg−1 DM at one location in August. Forage quality of false indigo leaves was high, with average crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations in July of 205, 226, and 235 g kg−1, respectively. Accession means of forage quality traits were poorly correlated across locations, indicating that it would be difficult to improve forage quality through selection. Diversity among accessions was often related to geographic origin. The two southern accessions were distinct from all other accessions, indicating that accessions from distant geographic regions will likely contribute valuable diversity to a plant breeding program.

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Correspondence to L.R. DeHaan.

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DeHaan, L., Ehlke, N., Sheaffer, C. et al. Evaluation of Diversity among North American Accessions of False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa L.) for Forage and Biomass. Genet Resour Crop Evol 53, 1463–1476 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-005-6845-6

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Keywords

  • Amorpha fruticosa
  • Biomass
  • Energy production
  • Morphology
  • Perennial forage legumes