Anagyris foetida - an underutilized Mediterranean nitrogen-fixing shrub

 Anagyris flowers and leaf. 

Anagyris flowers and leaf. 

Anagyris foetida is an ultra drought tolerant memeber of the Fabaceae family. The large shrub originates in the Mediterranean Basin. The plant illustrates one of the best drought resisting strategies of mediterranean flora: the plant keeps its leaves through autumn, winter and spring, then it goes completely deciduous in summer, becoming dormant and highly resistant to drought. 

A. foetida can adapt to a wide variety of soils and has been used as a fast growing nitrogen fixing pioneer species in large-scale native restoration of fire damaged areas in Southern Europe.

I first took notice of this tree / shrub where I was living in Greece. Covered in relatively large yellow flowers in winter it stands out. The flowers then develop into relatively large pods full of hard bean / seeds. The leves remind me of Cajanus cajans, a tropical perennial edible bean producing shrub. 

 Anagyris foetida leaves and maturing seedpod.

Anagyris foetida leaves and maturing seedpod.

in 2017 and 2018 I experimented with direct seeding of this species on a piece of land I am in the process of regenerating, planting Anagyris foetida at high densities as a guild / interplant among fruit and nut trees. 

I believe this large shrub has significant potential as a nitrogen fixer in Mediterranean agrorofrestry, afforestation and reforestation systems.