Flemingia macrophylla (Willd.) Merrill

Flemingia macrophylla (Willd.) Merrill




Flemingia congesta Roxb. ex Ait.f., Flemingia latifolia Benth., Moghania macrophylla (Willd.) Kuntze.

Vernacular Names


Serengan jantan, beringan.


Apa-apa (Ja­vanese), hahapaan (Sundanese), pok-kepokan (Madura).


Laclay-guinan (Tagalog), gewawini (lfugao), malabalatong (Pampanga).


Thwàx h'è: h'üad, thwàx h'üad (Vientiane), h'ôm sa:m müang (Xieng Khouang).


Mahae-nok (northern), khamin-nang, khamin-ling (central).


T[os]p m[ow] l[as]to, c[aa]y dau ma (Vinh Phu), cai duoi chon (Thuan Hai).

Geographical Distributions

Flemingia ma­crophylla originated and is widely distributed in Southeast Asia, also in India, Sri Lanka, south­ern China and Taiwan. It has been introduced and naturalised in Papua New Guinea, East, Central and West Africa and is cultivated in tropical America.


Flemingia macrophylla is a woody, deep-rooting, tussock-forming shrub that can grow 1-4 m tall. The young branches are greenish, ribbed, triangular in section and silky. The old stems are brown and almost round in section.

The leaves are digitately 3-foliolate. The stipules are lance-shaped, measure 1-1.5 cm long, cov­ered with silky hairs and early caduceus. The petiole is up to 10 cm long, narrowly channeled and slightly winged. The leaflets are elliptical-Iance-shaped, measuring 6-16 cm x 4-7 cm, pa­pery, dark green and rounded at base. The veins are covered with silky hairs while the apex is rounded to acuminate.

The in­florescence is a dense axillary raceme, slightly spike-like, sessile, measures 2.5-10 cm long and silky. The bracts are 3-6 mm long and ovate. The sepal is 6-13 mm long, velutinous pale, green, and with 5 lance-shaped lobes. The petal is with green­ish elliptical standard and distinct parallel red veins. The wings are narrow, much shorter than the keel and light purple at the apex.

The pod is oblong, inflated, measuring 8-15 mm x 5 mm, covered with fine glandular hairs, dehiscent, dark brown and 2-seeded. The shiny black seed is glob­ular and measures 2-3 mm in diametre.

Ecology / Cultivation

Flemingia macrophylla can be found from sea level up to 2000 m altitude, within a wide range of rainfall patterns, from subhumid to perhumid (1100-2850 mm/year). It can tolerate fairly long dry spells and is capable of surviving in very poor­ly drained soils with waterlogging. Its natural habitat is along watercourses, both on clay and la­teritic soils, as well as under drier conditions such as in fields infested with Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeuschel. It tolerates shade and poor, acid soils with a high content of soluble aluminium.

Line Drawing / Photograph



1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.11: Auxiliary plants.