WOODY NONLEGUME NITROGEN FIXING PLANTS1
D.L. Hensley and R.E. McNeil
Nitrogen is an essential inorganic element for all forms of life and, with the exception of water, is the most frequently encountered limiting factor in crop production. Organisms capable of using atmospheric nitrogen ordinarily require no other source, but those lacking this capability are dependent upon nitrogen from fertilizer or soil reserves. Biological nitrogen fixation of atmospheric nitrogen not only supplies the element to the fixing organism, but is a source of nitrogen for other plants. This occurs through leakage and plant decomposition in a variety of habitats that are important in food production, prevention of erosion and maintenance of ecological balances.
Nitrogen fixation by legumes has long been recognized and has become an important part of modern agriculture. The occurrence of nodules and nitrogen fixation by non-legume angiosperms is less noted but offers many potential uses.
The first occurrence of nodules on nonlegumes was recorded early in the nineteenth century
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