Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv.

Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv.




Hedysarum pulchellum L., Desmodium pulchellum (L.) Benth.

Vernacular Names


Serengan kechil (Peninsular).


Apa-apa, apa­-apa sapi, ketipes (Javanese).


Gaan-gaan (Sulu), kalaikai (Cebu), payang-payang (Tagalog).


âng-prôm, praè kraôy.


Kéd linz no:yz (Vi­entiane).


Klet plaa chon, yaa song plong (Central), yaa klet lin (Northern, Peninsular).


Chu[oox]i ti[eef]n, d[oof]ng ti[eef]n.

Geographical Distributions

Phyllodium pulchellum is distributed from India, Sri Lanka, southern China, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands throughout Southeast Asia, northern Australia and the Solomon Islands.


Phyllodium pulchellum is a shrub that can grow up to 2.5 m tall. Its branch­es are slender, cylindrical and pubescent.

The leaves are 3-foliolate, with petiole 6-10 mm long, narrowly triangu­lar stipules, measuring 6-8 mm x 2-3 mm, with rachis 10-20 mm long, with ovate ter­minal leaflet, elliptical or obovate and measures (2.5-)6-9 (-17) cm x (1.5-)3-5(-7) cm. The leaf base is obtuse or rounded, emarginate to acuminate at apex and with shallowly undulate margin. The lateral leaflets are similar, measure (1-)3-5(-8) cm x (1-)2-3(-5) cm and asymmetri­cal at base.

The raceme is 7-55 cm long, and composed of 5-6-flow­ered fascicles. The lateral leaflets of bracts are orbicular. They measure 8-15 mm x 7-13 mm. The petal is white or pale yellow, standard obovate, measures 5-6 mm x 3-4 mm and with 6-7 mm long pistil.

The pods are oblong, measure 7-8(-12) mm x 3-5 mm, sparsely hairy, reticulate-veined and (1-)2(-3)-arti­cled. The articles are 3-4 mm long, suborbicular or quadrangular.

The seed is transversely elliptical or suborbicu­lar, and measures 2 mm x 2.2-2.8 mm.

Ecology / Cultivation

Phyllodium pulchellum is found in teak forests, thickets, dry grassy fields, and sometimes along watercourses up to 900(-1600) m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.