Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Desmodium tenax Schindl.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Schindler, A.K. (1925) Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 21: 10. Type: Austromalayische Provinz: Tropisches Australien: Queensland, Rockinghams Bay (J. Dallachy!).


Flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.


Compound leaf petiole grooved on the upper surface. Leaflet blades hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces. Middle leaflet blade about 6.5-13 x 3-7 cm. Lateral leaflet blades about 2.5-8 x 2-5 cm. Leaflets turn orange or red before falling from the plant. Stipules triangular, about 5-8 mm long and densely hairy on the outer surface.


Two calyx lobes fused almost to the apex. Calyx outer surface clothed in golden hairs. Stamens 10, the filaments of nine stamens fused to form a tube with the anthers alternately higher and lower. One stamen completely free. Pollen white.


Pods moniliform, about 30-40 mm long, clothed in hooked hairs which causes them to adhere to clothes, etc.


Cotyledons oblong to somewhat falcate, about 7-9 x 5-6 mm. First pair of leaves cordate to almost orbicular. The first 7 or 8 leaves unifoliolate or could be regarded as simple. At the tenth leaf stage: stipules persistent, about 7 mm long, hairy and spreading. Middle leaflet pulvinate, much longer and larger than the lateral leaflets. Upper and lower surfaces densely covered in pale brown hairs. Seed germination time 143 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from 80-420 m. Grows as an understory plant in monsoon forest, vine thickets and rain forest margins. Also occurs in New Guinea.

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