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Underutilized Senna tora (L.) Roxb. - a highly potential multipurpose species for food, feed, medicine and climate resilience for the Philippines

Author(s): Joy M. Jamago, Jean L. Valleser, Gerald N. Galleron, April Grace M. Racines, Bryan U. Bactong, Nora M. Ata

Published: 19 Sep 2019

Volume: 22 (2018) Issue 2, Page: 36, Category: Natural Sciences


There are thousands of species in the plant kingdom but less than 200 are recognized as major crops. There is even less when it comes to food crops hence food and nutritional insecurity are major concerns in either developed or developing countries. Unfortunately, manyspecies fall under the neglected and underutilized species (NUS) category. Senna tora (L.) Roxb. is largely utilized in some countries especially as part of their traditional medicine but is generally known as a weed in the Philippines and henceforth technically, one of the NUS. This paper reports of findings of a series of investigations from December 2009 to November 2017 of S. tora in Bukidnon that documented its uses as a food, feed, and medicinal crop; in situ and ex situ ecotypic diversity in the province based on its phenotypes; and potential resilience to abiotic stresses at early vegetative stage. Use of leaves, seeds and roots as food, feed and medicine were documented in 9 of 22 barangays. Percent crude protein (PCP) of seeds and leaves ranged from 12.50% to 20.48% and 16.94-39.02%, respectively. PCP of seeds (H’=0.93) and leaves (H’=0.79 and 0.81) were highly diverse based on Standardized Shannon-Weaver Diversity Index. Plant height was estimated with moderate (H’=0.67) to high (H’=0.88 and 0.93) diversity. However, all ecotypes were non-nodulating (H’=0.00). Finally, most ecotypes were more sensitive to waterlogging than to drought for 16 days at seedling stage. Three of 10 ecotypes were sensitive only to waterlogging whereas, another three ecotypes were not sensitive to both stresses.

Keyword(s): underutilized species Senna tora multipurpose species resilient crop Bukidnon

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