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Abstract

Survival of 67 climatically adapted tropical legume accessions, representing a range of species and growth forms, was evaluated in bahiagrass pastures at Ona, Florida. Only Vigna parkeri cv. Shaw persisted for more than four years under continuous grazing at a moderate stocking rate. Three species, Desmodium barbatum, Desmodium heterocarpon cv. Florida, and Alysicarpus vaginalis, survived three years of grazing. These four persistent species survived as prostrate, perennial plants similar in growth form to the grazed grass canopy. Several up-right and clinging accessions survived under limited grazing, and some re-established themselves after continuous grazing was terminated. Growth form appears to be the major determinant of grazing tolerance of climatically and edaphically adapted legumes in peninsular Florida. Identification of compatible growth forms of grasses and legumes and determination of specific management techniques to enhance compatibility of less-suitable plant combinations could improve the generally poor results from introducing tropical legumes into grass pastures.

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