Effects of shading on the growth, development and yield of winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
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ABSTRACT: An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of different shading regimes [i.e., 60% (heavy), 30% (moderate), and 0% (control)] on 25 traits associated with the morphological features, photosynthetic gas exchange and agronomic characteristics of winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), an underutilized protein-rich legume from the tropics. Collectively, 80% of the studied variables displayed significant differences (P<0.05) between at least two shade treatments. Shading generally showed most pronounced effect on the physiological traits of the legume, whereby the stomatal conductance, photosynthetic and transpiration rate differed significantly among plants for all treatments. The non-shaded plants were observed to have superior growth and physiological responses than the shaded plants. Interestingly, the moderately shaded plants exhibited the highest yield per plant, which significantly differed from the non-shaded and heavily shaded plants. This indicated that winged bean can adapt to partial canopy cover, making it a potential nitrogen-fixing cash crop which can be planted together with fruit or oil trees in commercial plantations.