Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Desmodium gunnii Benth. ex Hook.f.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Learf, flowers and fruit. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Habit, flowers and fruit. © CSIRO
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Hooker, J.D. (1856) The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H.M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror . III. Flora Tasmaniae 1(2): 101. Type: Gunn, 243.

Common name

Slender tick-trefoil


Stema sprawling to ascending; stipules triangular, striate, 2-4 x 1-2.5 mm.


Leaves trifoliolate, petioles 10-30 mm long; leaflet blades 6-15 x 6-15 mm, leaflet stalks ca. 1 mm long. Central leaflet larger than the lateral leaflets, cuneate and truncate at the apex, 6-20 x 7-11 mm, subglabrous. Stipels setaceous, 0.5-2 mm long


Inflorescences terminal or in the leaf axils, up to 16 cm long, open, Flowers ca. 3 mm diam. Pedicels 6-7 mm long, clothed in hooked hairs. Calyx tube campanulate, 1-1.2 mm long, lobes 0.7-1 mm long. Corolla pink to lavender, standard 3-4 x 3-4 mm, wings ca. 4 x 2 mm, keel ca. 4 x 2 mm. Stamens 10, 9 fused to form a tube ca. 3 mm long open on one side, 1 stamen free. Ovary ca. 3 mm long, clothed in fine hairs.


Fruits flattened, 13-25 x 2 mm, consisting of 3-6 segments or articles, each 3.5-5 mm long and clothed in hooked hairs. Calyx segments persistent at the base of each fruit. Embryo ca. 3 mm long. Seeds ca. 3 mm long, reniform.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as Tasmania. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1020 m. Grows in open areas in rainforest, Eucalypt forest, various types of woodland, shrubland and wooded grassland.

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