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Abstract

The genus Desmanthus includes tropical and temperate species, with a center of origin in the Caribbean basin. Ecotypes range from 2m high Q. viroatus shrubs to the prostrate fi. deoressus. Adaptation ranges from heavy clays to coarse sands and from semi-arid to wet equatorial rainfall zones. High-quality, palatable forage is characteristic, although poor acceptance by cattle of germplasm on acid, infertile soils has been observed. Age or physiological stage at defoliation affects regrowth potential. Some accessions of perennial shrubs have been called annuals due to failure to regenerate following defoliation. Collections of Desmanthus include almost 300 accessions at CSIRO, over 150 accessions at CIAT, plus collections at ILCA, CARDI, and the USDA. Forage potential includes pastures, protein banks and cut-and-carry systems. However, identification of appropriate germplasm for specific sites and determination of defoliation management for sustained, productive use have not been adequately determined. This lack of information limits commercial use of Desmanthus germplasm.

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