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Genetic Improvement Provenance evaluation for high yield, large seed size, pleasing taste, fast growth, and adaptability should be made. Most erythrinas are self-sterile and require cross-pollination, an impediment for high fruit set. Whether basul requires this has not been reported and should be checked.

Nutritional Research Nutritional trials could help demonstrate dietary importance. Details of amino acid and vitamin compositions are lacking. Toxicological analyses should be conducted on the seeds as a precaution.

Animal Production Trials All woody plants that provide feed for livestock deserve greater recognition in animal production in tropical regions. Browse shrubs and trees complement (and often benefit) herbaceous pasture species and can be crucial to the nutrition—even the survival—of animals, especially during drought, when shallow-rooted species shrivel to straw. However, cattle are said to eat only limited quantities of erythrina leaves. Exploratory trials using basul are called for.

Basul trees fix nitrogen, and with their protein-rich foliage, pods, and seeds as well as their general robustness, they might enormously benefit developing country reforestation and soil-improvement programs in the future.

SPECIES INFORMATION

Botanical Name Erythrina edulis Triana

Family Leguminosae (Fabaceae)

Synonym Erythrina esculenta

Common Names

Spanish: basul, balú, antipurutu, baluy, chachafruto, chafruto, sachafruto, sachapuruto, calú, frísol calú, nopas (Colombia); pajuro (Peru); achaporoto, sacha purutu (Argentina, Bolivia)

Origin. Unknown, although the seeds are found in early burial sites. Basul is a semidomesticate, and wild forms are abundant at the transition zone between highland and forest.

Description. Basul is a tree 8–10 m tall with trifoliate leaves. The trunk bears stout, conical spines, and the young branches are thorny. The two-petaled, red, fleshy flowers face upward, forming a large cup in which nectar gathers.



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