Articles

Alysicarpus vaginalis (L.) DC.

Alysicarpus vaginalis (L.) DC.

Family

Leguminosae

Synonyms

Hedysarum vaginale L., Alysi­carpus nummularifolius (Willd.) DC.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia

Akar seleguri.

English

Alyce clover, buffalo clover, one-leaf clover.

Indonesia

Brobos, gude oyod, tebalan (Java).

Philippines

Banig-usa, mani-manian (Tagalog).

Thailand

Thua lisongna.

Vietnam

Cây me dât, cây the the.

American

Alyce clover, buffalo clover, one-leaf clover.

Geographical Distributions

Alysicarpus vaginalis is native to and widespread throughout East Africa including Madagascar, the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and is naturalised in northern Australia (especially in the Northern Territory), in South America and the United States.

Description

Alysicarpus vaginalis is an annual or short-lived perennial. It is an erect to prostrate herb with many stems that are 10-100 cm long emanating from the rootstock. Its stem is smooth to hairy and it roots at the nodes under sustained moist conditions.

The leaf is with 1 leaflet which is lance-shaped to ovate and measuring 5-65 mm x 3-25 mm. It is hairless to soft hairy. The petiole is 4-15 mm long. The stipules are lance-shaped.

The terminal flowers are about 6 mm long while the leaf-opposed inflorescences are up to 13 cm long. The petal is orange to purple and very variable.

The fruit is 12-25 mm long and is well-exserted from the sepal. It is soft hairy, reticulate, not or slightly constricted between the 4-7 articles which are subcylindrical, and 2.5-3 mm long with raised ridges.

The seeds are dark red, measure 1-1.5 mm long and copiously produced.

Ecology / Cultivation

Alysicarpus vaginalis grows on a wide range of soil types, from coraline sands to clays, but prefers lighter soils. It has been collected from very acidic (pH (H20) 4.5) to neutral soils. The species usually occurs in seasonally dry climates with total annu­al rainfall of between 700 and 1700 mm. It does not tolerate waterlogging and good drainage is essen­tial. The species is a common weed of lawns throughout the Asian region and so appears adapted to frequent defoliation and grazing. It is in these situations that the species perennates, whereas in the seasonally dry climates it usually behaves as an annual herb. Stands in northern Austra­lia are variable between seasons and this can be attributed in part to the species behaving as an an­nual in this environment and to the high propor­tion of hard seed.

Line Drawing / Photograph

BOT00368

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.4: Forages.