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Stylo, Caatinga
(Stylosanthes seabrana)

  • hardy and drought-tolerant perennial
  • for wide range of soils, including clays
  • more cold-tolerant than the shrubby stylos
  • early flowering and prolific seeding
  • highly specific Rhizobium.

Caatinga stylo was recently classified as a new species (S. seabrana), being originally called aff.scabra (Stylosanthes spp. aff. S. scabra). Caatinga stylos are intermediate in shape and growth between the shrubby and Caribbean types, and will complement the shrubby stylos on medium fertility soils in the subtropical regions too cold for Caribbean stylo. They withstand early winters and tolerate droughts by seeding early and prolifically

The Caatinga stylos will grow in 500-1000 mm rainfall country and on heavier soils than the other stylos. They are suitable for the lighter brigalow clay soils, the rolling down of the Central Highlands, and also for other soils of moderate fertiity such as box-belah and box woodlands. Experimental plantings have survived as far south and west as the Maranoa.

The Caatinga stylos have a highly specific Rhizobium requirement, and must be inoculated. Failure to nodulate can result in thin pale grwoth, but this may be masked in early years when planted in clay soils with moderate levels of available nitrogen.

Two cultivars have been released: Unica is more suited to the northern end of the Caatinga stylo region, for example around Springsure or Nebo; Primar is likley to be better in the subtropics.

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 03 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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