Green manure cover crops (gmcc) are rapidly growing crops that cover and protect the soil. They are left on the soil surface as mulch or plowed under to enrich soil organic matter content. Legumes are prioritized for their ability to source atmospheric nitrogen through symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Gmcc can be established by seed, but some root at the nodes and can therefore be established from cuttings. ECHO does not provide legume inoculants. An ECHO Technical Note on “Green Manure Cover Crops” is available. Also see the GMCC Selection Tool.

  1. Desmanthus Desmanthus virgatus

    Desmanthus, Hedge Lucerne, False Tamarind, Donkey Bean, Bundle Flower, Dwarf Koa

    Desmanthus is a nitrogen-fixing, prostrate, perennial, tropical shrub that can be used as a green manure/cover crop and as fodder for livestock. This shrub is adaptable to a range of environments and is tolerant of drought.
  2. Flemingia Flemingia macrophylla


    Flemingia is a woody, leguminous, deep-rooted shrub native to Asia but now found in Sub-Saharan Africa and Malaysia.
  3. Rice Bean Vigna umbellata

    Rice Bean, Climbing Mountain Bean, Mambi Bean, Oriental Bean

    Rice bean is a slender, bush or vining, nitrogen-fixing, short-lived perennial plant that is grown as an annual, and often intercropped with rice. The green pods and seeds, as well as the dry beans are used for human consumption. The plant is also useful as livestock fodder, green manure, or...
  4. Sesbania sesban Sesbania sesban

    Sesbania Sesban

    Sesbania is a fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing perennial, growing to 7 m in height. It is typically found in wet locations and can withstand water logging and flooded conditions. Sesbania is used as a cover crop or green manure, coppices readily, provides light fuelwood, and good forage for...
  5. Hairy Vetch Vicia villosa

    Hairy Vetch, sand vetch, Sand Vetch, Winter Vetch

    Hairy vetch is a temperate, annual, nitrogen-fixing, vining plant that can be up to 70 cm in height. It is used for pasture, hay, silage, green manure or cover crop, and is tolerant of acid soil.
  6. Cowpea Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata

    Cowpea, Black Eyed Pea, Crowder

    Cowpea can be erect, climbing, vining, or prostrate, is a nitrogen-fixing annual, and is one of the most common legumes globally. The young pods, mature green seeds and dry seeds are eaten, and for livestock it is consumed as hay, pasture, or dried vines and pods. Cowpea is also an excellent...
  7. Sunn Hemp Crotalaria juncea

    Sunn Hemp, Matraca

    Sunn hemp is an erect, fast growing, annual, nitrogen-fixing green manure or cover crop, that can reach 3 m in height. Traditionally Sunn Hemp has been considered a good source of fiber for the manufacture of twine and cord, and it is also an excellent green manure that can return more organic...
  8. Sword Bean Canavalia gladiata

    Sword Bean

    Sword bean is a perennial, nitrogen-fixing, slightly woody, vining and climbing, plant highly valued for use as a green manure or cover crop. Preferred environmental conditions for sword bean are found in the humid lowland tropics, but these beans may be grown with success in tropical elevations...
  9. Butterfly Pea Clitoria ternatea

    Butterfly Pea, Kordofan Pea, Blue Pea, Asian Pigeon Wings

    Butterfly pea is a vining, nitrogen-fixing, drought-tolerant, vigorous, perennial plant used mainly for ground cover or in mixed pastures. The young pods can be eaten, the flowers used for blue food coloring and the plant makes an attractive ornamental vine for landscaping.
  10. Slender Leaf Rattlebox Crotalaria ochroleuca

    Sunn Hemp, Slender Leaf Rattlebox, Marejea

    Slender leaf rattlebox is an annual, herbaceous, nitrogen-fixing plant, up to 2.5 m in height, which is utilized for fiber, forage, and as a green manure or cover crop.Grown in rotation with commodity crops, this species builds soil nutrition between crops.
  11. Fish Bean Tephrosia vogelii

    Fish Bean

    Fish Bean is native to West Africa, but is now found in India, Asia, and other tropical regions.
  12. Pigeon Pea Cajanus cajan

    Pigeon Pea, Gandules, Congo Pea, Angola Pea, Pwa Kongo, Gandur, Cachito, Ambrevade, Gungo Pea

    Pigeon pea is a nitrogen-fixing, perennial shrub, growing to 4 m in height, that produces green or dry seed in seasonally dry climates. Pigeon peas are adaptable to many soil types and are used as a dry pea, green vegetable, fodder, fuelwood, green manure or cover crop.
  13. Forage Peanut Arachis pintoi

    Forage Peanut

    Forage Peanut is a prostate, nitrogen-fixing, perennial plant, used mostly as a cover crop for erosion, weed, and fire control. It is favored for these purposes in tree plantations, as it will tolerate some shade. It also makes for good cattle and poultry grazing if a 30-day rest period is...
  14. Jack Bean Canavalia ensiformis

    Jack Bean, Févérole, Horse Bean, Habichuela Espada, Horse Bean, Overlook Bean, Gotani Bean

    Jack bean is an annual or short-lived perennial, nitrogen-fixing, vining, very drought-tolerant plant highly valued for use as a green manure or cover crop. It is a useful species for tropical soil reclamation efforts because of its deeply penetrating root system, contribution of nitrogen, and...
  15. Beach Bean Canavalia maritima

    Beach Bean, Bay Bean, Mackenzie Bean

    Beach bean is a perennial, nitrogen-fixing, slightly woody, salt-tolerant vining plant adapted to growing under very dry and hot conditions. Vines are widely distributed on beaches and dunes in the tropics and subtropics. They can reach lengths of 6 m and the compact mass of vines can be 15-30 cm...
  16. Hairy Indigo Indigofera hirsuta

    Hairy Indigo

    Hairy Indigo, a leguminous plant, is native to tropical Africa, southern Asia and northern Australia. Hairy Indigo is an erect-growing, reseeding, summer annual legume that may grow 1-2 m (4-7 ft) tall if not grazed. It produces heavy foliage on fine stems that become course in latter stages of...
  17. Lablab Lablab purpureus

    Lablab Bean, Bonavist, Egyptian Kidney Bean, Hyacinth Bean, Dolique, Dolique D'Égypte

    Lablab is a vigorous, vining, nitrogen-fixing, short-lived perennial that produces edible seeds which can eaten fresh or as a dry bean. It is an excellent choice for forage, green manure, and cover crops. Flowers and young pods are also eaten as a vegetable.
  18. White Lupine Lupinus albus

    White Lupine, Sweet Lupine

    It is believed that lupines have been cultivated for 2,000 years, beginning in Egypt. Until recently, nearly all of the 300 lupinus species were considered bitter (high-alkaloid).
  19. Siratro Macroptilium atropurpureum

    Siratro, Atro, Surple Bean, Conchito

    The exact origin of this crop is not known but it is commonly grown from southern Texas south to Peru. It was named “Siratro” and first hybridized in the early 1960’s.
  20. Tarwi Lupinus mutabilis

    Tarwi, Andean Lupin, Pearl Lupin, Tarhui

    This legume crop grows best in cool highlands and plateaus. Tarwiseeds have been found in tombs of the pre-Incan era of the central Andean region of South America. A mass of foliage is produced with brilliant purplish blue blossoms; the plant grows to a height of 1 meter.
  21. Horse Gram Macrotyloma uniflorum

    Horse Gram, Madras Gram, Kulthi Bean

    Horse gram is a dense, low-growing, nitrogen-fixing, annual crop grown for forage and human consumption. It is usually sown as an intercrop but can also be used as a green manure or cover crop. It will tolerate drought conditions, poor soil, and some salinity.
  22. Glycine Neonotonia wightii


    Glycine is a perennial, vining, nitrogen-fixing, green manure or cover crop that may be grown to suppress weed growth, improve the soil nitrogen supply, and slow soil erosion. It is also a forage crop that can be grown in pure stands for hay or in a mixed pasture system.
  23. Vining Velvet Bean Mucuna pruriens

    velvet bean, Bengal Bean, Poil à Gratter, Mucuna, Picapica, Pwa Grate, Fève De Velours

    Vining forms of velvet bean grow rapidly, with climbing or trailing vines 6-8 m long. The leaves are large and trifoliate with lateral leaflets 7–15 cm long, 5–12 cm wide. Flowers are light purple or white, resulting in pods 4-13 cm in length. Wild forms have pods with hairs that, due to a...
  24. Tropical Kudzu Pueraria phaseoloides

    Tropical Kudzu, Puero, Kudzu Tropika

    Tropical Kudzu is native to Malaysia, although it is widely distributed throughout the world in the wet tropics.
  25. Prickly Sesban Sesbania bispinosa

    Prickly Sesban, Danchi

    Prickly sesban is a fast-growing, annual, nitrogen-fixing shrub, growing up to 2 m in one season. It is valuable for soil improvement, erosion control, firewood, forage, fiber, and as a green manure/cover crop.
  26. Agati Sesbania grandiflora

    Agati, Corkwood Tree, Scarlet Wisteria Tree

    Sesbania grandiflora is a small, fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing tree, that can grow to 10 m height in 3-4 years. This plant is grown mainly as a green manure or cover crop but can also be used as forage for livestock.
  27. Adzuki Bean Vigna angularis

    Adzuki Bean, Azuki Bean

    Adzuki bean is a bushy or vining, nitrogen-fixing, annual plant that is moderately drought tolerant. This bean grows best in temperate climates or higher altitudes in the tropics. The young pods, fresh seeds and dry beans are used for human consumption.
  28. Faba Bean Vicia faba

    Faba Bean, Broad Bean, Fava Bean, Windsor Bean

    Faba bean is a cool season, nitrogen-fixing, annual grain legume, now widely distributed in temperate environments around the globe. It is important to note that Faba beans can cause a severe reaction, termed “favism” in people that lack the G6PD enzyme. The large-seeded, mild-flavored, sweet...
  29. Mung Bean Vigna radiata

    Mung Bean, Mung, Moong, Mungo, Greengram

    Mung bean is a bush or vining, nitrogen-fixing, annual plant grown for the dry seeds. It is eaten fresh, or as a dry bean, and is also a good bean for sprouting. Mung bean can also be used as a green manure or cover crop.
  30. Calliandra Calliandra calothyrsus


    Calliandra is a vigorous, nitrogen-fixing, bushy tree that can be fast-growing on poor soils. The tree responds well to coppicing, is a good fuelwood source and the leaves provide excellent fodder. Calliandra is used to enrich soil and provide stability on steep slopes.
  31. American Joint Vetch Aeschynomene americana

    American Joint Vetch, Deer Vetch

    American jointvetch is an erect, annual, or short-lived perennial shrub that grows well in moist locations. It a good forage legume for low, wet areas and drainage ditches, and can also be used as a green manure and cover crop.
  32. Sesbania Sesbania rostrata


    Sesbania rostrata a fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing, annual or short-lived perennial shrub, that can grow to 3 m height. It is adapted to saline, alkaline and wet soils and is usually used for a green manure or cover crop, most commonly with flooded rice. It is also suitable fodder for livestock.
  33. Runner Bean Phaseolus coccineus

    Scarlet Runner Bean

    Scarlet runner bean is a vigorous, climbing, nitrogen-fixing plant, adapted to areas with cool temperatures. The fresh pods, dry beans, and tubers may all be harvested for food but the tubers must be thoroughly cooked to eliminate toxins. It can also be used as a living mulch and an ornamental...
  34. Bush Velvet Bean Mucuna pruriens

    Velvet Bean, Bengal Bean, Mucuna, Picapica, Pwa Grate

    Bush forms of velvet bean grow rapidly, but have a more compact growth habit than vining types. The leaves are large and trifoliate with lateral leaflets 7–15 cm long, 5–12 cm wide. Flowers are light purple or white, resulting in pods 4-13 cm in length. Wild forms of velvet bean have pods with...
  35. Tithonia Tithonia diversifolia

    Mexican sunflower, Tree Marigold

    Tithonia is a perennial shrub native to Mexico and Central America and found in humid and sub-humid parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. Its hollow stems reach 3 m in height and become woody with age. Leaves are large (12-22 cm wide) with five lobes. Another distinguishing attribute is its...