Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Cordeauxia edulis : production and forage quality in central Somalia

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  • Availability of evergreen forage plants during the two dry seasons in arid central Somalia is very important. Cordeauxia edulis is a multistemmed evergreen legume shrub which grows in Central Somalia in plant communities dominated by deciduous shrubs. There are two growth forms of this plant. A form with small leaflets and a second form with large leaflets were studied. The objective of this study was to determine the morphology, phenology, forage production, adaptation to grazing, and forage quality of C. edulis. The study was conducted in Central Somalia from April to September, which is from the end of the dry season through the early rainy-season to the beginning of the next dry season. After the first rain of the season, vegetative and floral buds, initiated the previous rainy period, continued their development. Immature fruits, from the previous rainy period which had been in diapause through the dry season, continued and completed their development. Leaflets, which had been curled during the dry season, and became turgid. The small-leaf form of C. edulis grows on Arinic Aridic Paleoustalfs, while the large-leaf form grows on Typic Ustipsmments Arenosols. Plant density increased with distance from permanent water points and villages and was related to decreased browsing intensity. Average estimated forage production of C. edulis was 326 kg/ha, 335 kg/ha and 453 kg/ha for poor, good and excellent condition classes, respectively. C. edu is sprouted heavily from the base in response to degree of hedging, but no decline in per plant production was found. Leaves and twigs of g. edulis contained 54% moisture during vegetative growth stages and approximately 28% moisture during dormant stages. There was no difference in crude protein content between the two growth forms although crude protein decreased as the growing season progressed. Crude protein was highest during vegetative and flowering stages. Crude protein was 14% for the small-leaf form and 12% for the large-leaf form at the flowering stages. Calcium was higher for the small-leaf form as compared to the large-leaf form. Phosphorus content was sufficient to meet the minimum amount required for normal cattle growth only during the early growth phases. In vitro dry matter digestibility was low for both growth forms due to high lignin and fiber content in plant tissue. In vitro dry matter digestibility was 37% during early vegetative growth but declined to approximately 30% during all other stages. The small-leaf form had higher lignin content compared to large-leaf form for most phenological phases.
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