Desmodium styracifolium (Osbeck) Merr.

Last updated: 14 May 2015

Scientific Name                                       

Desmodium styracifolium (Osbeck) Merr.


Desmodium capitatum (Burm.f.) DC., Desmodium celebicum Schindl., Desmodium retroflexum (L.) DC., Desmodium rotundifolium Wall., Hedysarum capitatum Burm.f., Hedysarum retroflexum L., Hedysarum styracifolium Osbeck, Meibomia retroflexa (L.) Kuntze, Meibomia capitata (Burm.f.) Kuntze, Nicolsonia styracifolia Desv., Pseudarthria capitata (Burm.f.) Hassk., Uraria retroflexa Drake, Uraria styracifolia Wight & Arn. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Korat nasi [2], kerak nasi [3]
Indonesia Katepan, melikan (Javanese); susuukan (Sundanese) [2][3]
Thailand Rukku ning taa no, phee suea nam (Lampang) [2]
Laos Kéng no:yz ngwà liaz, pâdông fai [2]
Cambodia Voë vè:t (General); smau srâlâb pôpôôk, srâka:niëk (Battambang)[2]
Vietnam D[oof]ng ti[eef]n (l[oo]ng); kim ti[eef]nth[ar]o, v[ar]y r[oof]ng [2]

Geographical Distributions

Desmodium styracifolium originated from India and Sri Lanka eastward to China, and southward to Malesia and Micronesia. Commonly found throughout the Malesian region, but no records from New Guinea. [2]

D. styracifolium is found in rather open habitats, in full sunlight as well as in shade. It grows on periodically wet and dry terrain, as well as in grasslands and abandoned rice fields from sea-level up to 600 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

D. styracifolium comes from the family of Leguminosae. It is a much-branched, erect shrub or prostrate to ascending slightly shrub within 60-200 cm tall young stems hairy. [2]

The leaves consist of 1- or 3-leaflets. The stipules are narrowly triangular, 8-11 mm long. The terminal leaflet is broadly elliptical or broadly reverse egg-shaped to orbicular, (1-)2-4.5(-5.5) cm x (1-)2-4.5(-5) cm. It is larger than the lateral ones with thick or leathery texture. The upper surface is hairless while the lower surface densely hairy. It has 8-10 lateral veins, not extending to the margin. [2]

The inflorescence is terminal and arising from axils, short indeterminate very densely flowered, stalked inflorescence with size 1-3(-5) cm long. [2]

The flowers are paired, sepal is 4-lobed and is densely hairy while the male element is in two bundles. The fragrant petal is purple or violet. [2]

The pod is narrowly oblong and compressed, (12-)15-20 mm x 2.5-3 mm. It is plicate-retroflexed when young but later becomes straight with (4-)5-6 joints. [2]

The seed is kidney-shaped, depressed reverse egg-shaped or transversely elliptical 1.3-1.8 mm x 2-2.2 mm. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of D. styracifolium (Osbeck) Merr. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Desmodium styracifolium (Osbeck) Merr. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2015 May 07]. Available from:
  2. Setyowati-Indarto N, Brink M. Desmodium styracifolium (Osbeck) Merr. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p.248.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p. 261.