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Desmodium gangeticum

Desmodium gangeticum




Hedysarum gangeticum L., Meibomia gangetica (L.) O. Kuntze

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Akar katah, serengan, kemani bali.
Indonesia Daun bulu ayam (Malay, Manado), daun picah (Sundanese), waliketupa (Javanese).
Philippines Dikit-dikit (Tagalog), pega-pega (Cebu Bisaya), andudukut (Sulu).
Laos Tük hma:, do:yz tük hma:, ph'è:ng kh'am h'o:yz
Thailand I-nio, yaa tuet maeo, nuut phraphuu (Trang).
Vietnam C[aa]y th[os]c l[es]p, c[or]ch[as]y, b[af]i ng[af]i.

Geographical Distributions

This plant is found in tropical Africa, tropical and sub-tropical Asia, throughout the Malesian region and Oceania; and introduced in the West Indies.


This is a much-branched, erect shrub, or a prostrate to ascending slightly shrub within 30-200 cm tall, with its rootstock thickened. The young stems are hairy.

The leaves are 1-leaf with 2-, 3-, 4-leaflets. The stipules are narrow and tapering to a point with 7-15 mm long. The papery leaflet is (1-)2.5-18 cm x (0.8-)2-8 cm and very variable in shape and size. The upper surface is variably hairy while the lower surface is densely hairy. Their lateral veins are 6-12, usually extending to the margin and persistent.

The inflorescence is a terminal or arising from the axils raceme or panicle and 10-30 cm long.The flowers are in clusters of 2-4, sepal is 4-lobed, densely covered with minute hooked hairs and longer straight hairs. The petal is white to pale yellow, or rose to violet and its male element is in two bundles.

The pod is linear, variably incurved size 1.2-2.5 cm x 2-2.5 mm and (4-)6-8-jointed. It is covered with minute hooked hairs, articles broadly oblong.

The seeds are pale yellow, kidney-shaped size 1.5-1.8 mm x 2-2.5 mm.

Ecology / Cultivation

D. gangeticum is a very common weed in Malesia, mainly found in anthropogenic habitats in the lowlands, under ever wet or seasonal conditions. In Indo-China it is found in savannas and deforested terrains, in hedges and along forest paths, up to 1900 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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  1)  Safety


  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2). 1998, Unesco.

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