plantation: La Pedregosa, Colombia
Common names: Gliciridia, Immortelle, Lilas étranger, Madre de caca
Type of foliage: Evergreen
Life expectancy: 50 years
Total weight of CO2 captured: 165 Kg
Height: 12 m
What the planter likes about it
Matarratón or Gliricidia sepium is planted for living fences (cerca vivas). This means it acts as a border, but also provides erosion control and wind break services. This small tree is very good for nitrogen fixing, due to its membership in the legume family, and it has been used in traditional medicine for things like allergies, skin rashes, as an expectorant and as a purgative. The most interesting aspect of Matarratón is that it is fast growing, can stand acidic and poor soils, can survive annual pruning, and has powerful insecticide, fungicide and pesticide properties.
Gliricidia sepium returns much nitrogen to the ground, fertilizing the soil. Its leaves are very high in protein, highly digestible, and low in fiber and tannin, making it an excellent fodder for livestock. As a green manure, Gliricidia sepium increases soil organic matter and aids in recycling of soil nutrients as it produces much litter. It also improves soil aeration and reduces soil temperature. This species is so easy to propagate that when one breaks off a branch and plants it directly into the ground, it will grow into a new tree. Its fast growth, ease of propagation, nitrogen fixing ability and light canopy makes it ideal as live stakes. Its common uses are: fences, firewood, posts and soil fertilization. With these benefits, it is the most commonly used agroforestry species throughout the tropics and even the world.