Performance and adaptation of the most promising tropical legumes so far evaluated in Africa south of the Limpopo River are discussed. The species dealt with are: Desmodium spp., Glycine wightii, Lotononis bainesii, Macroptilium atropurpureum and Stylosanthes spp.Good animal production from tropical legume-based pastures has been recorded only in humid, subtropical areas where there is frequently economic competition with high-value crops. Clipping trials have indicated that the use of tropical legumes could possibly be extended into drier areas and areas experiencing extremes of temperature. More intensive plant introduction, breeding and evaluation programmes are needed if the full potential of tropical legumes is to be realised.
Keywords: adaptation; animal production; competition; crops; desmodium; glycine; glycine wightii; legumes; lotononis bainesii; macroptilium atropurpureum; pasture legumes; pastures; performance; review; river; southern africa; stylosanthes; tropical legumes