Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Leaf and flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Flowers and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Habit, leaves, flowers and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Candolle, A.P. de (1825) Prodromus 2: 327.


Flowers and fruits as a herb or a shrub up to 1 m tall.


Leaf blades about 30-120 x 17-50 mm, petioles about 8-20 mm long. (Petiole consists of two parts: the compound leaf petiole and the leaflet stalk, and a pair of stipels each about 2-5 mm long.) Stipules narrowly triangular to linear, about 3-8 mm long, venation longitudinal. Underside of the leaf blades clothed in pale, appressed hairs. Lateral veins 7-10 on each side of the midrib.


Inflorescence a fasciculate raceme about 20-30 cm long. Flowers about 5-7 mm diam. Calyx tube about 1-1.5 mm long, lobes about 1-1.5 mm long. Corolla lobes about 3-4 mm long. Stamens 10, the filaments of nine stamens fused to form a tube open on one side while the filament of one stamen is completely free. Ovary about 2.5 mm long, clothed in hairs. Ovules about 6 per ovary. Stigma papillate.


Fruits (pods) about 15-25 mm long, segmented, surface clothed in hooked hairs. Seeds reniform, about 1.5x 2 mm. Radicle about 11 mm long, much shorter and narrower than the cotyledons.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 500 m? Occurs in a variety of habitats, often in open forest but also in disturbed areas in rain forest, monsoon forest an vine thicket. Also occurs in Africa, Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Grazing characteristics not recorded. Hacker (1990).

Hedysarum gangeticum L., Species Plantarum : 746(1753).
RFK Code
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