Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC.

Last updated: 14 May 2015

Scientific Name

Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC.


Desmodium buergeri Miq., Desmodium heterocarpum (L.) DC. [Spelling variant], Desmodium toppinii Schindl., Hedysarum heterocarpon L., Hedysarum polycarpum Poir., Hedysarum siliquosum Burm.f. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Rumput kerbau derapah, kacang kayu betina [2], gelanggang kati, kelumbar [3], kalumbar, katumbar [4]
English Carpon desmodium [2], Asian ticktrefoil, false ground nut [5]
China Jia di dou [3][5]
India Adavi vehinta, baephol, cepputatta, krishnupani, mohini, pribut, salaparni, salpani [4]
Indonesia Buntut meyong sisir (Sundanese); kaci (Javanese); akar entimor (Belitung) [2][4][5]
Philippines Mangkit-parang (Tagalog); mani-mani (Visaya); huyo-huyop (Ifugao) [2][4]
Cambodia Baay dâm'nnaëp [2][4][5]
Vietnam Tra[n]g qu'a di qu'a [2][4][5]
Japan Hai-shiba-hagi [4]
Nepal Ban gahat, chara pipi, dampate [4]

Geographical Distributions

Desmodium heterocarpon distributed naturally from India and Sri Lanka through Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Malesia, China, Taiwan, Ryukyu, Japan, to the Pacific Islands and Australia. [2]

Botanical Description

D. heterocarpon comes from the family of Leguminosae. It is a perennial herb or low shrub that can reach up to 0.5-3.0 m long and with ascending or creeping stems from a woody rootstock. [2]

The stems are mostly much-branched at the base, variously hairy when young, from almost hairless to densely cover and with more or less appressed hairs. [2]

The leaves are with 3 leaflets, or often with 1 leaflet on seedlings or at the base of the older stems. The leaflets are variable in texture, shape and size and mostly papery. The terminal is elliptical, ovate or obovate, measuring (1.5-)2-6-9) cm x (1-)1.5-3(-4) cm, indented or more or less pointed at the tip and sparsely covered with appressed hairs on the upper surface. The lower surface is more densely covered with appressed silvery hairs and with prominent nerves. The lateral ones are with the same proportions but can reach up to 4 cm long. [2]

The inflorescence is a dense axillary or terminal raceme. [2]

The flowers are pink, mauve, purple, violet or white, measure 4-7 mm long, mostly in pairs where each is on a pedicel measures 3-5 mm long within the axil and with a pointed bract measures 5-8 mm long. [2]

The pod is erect to ascending, measuring 10-28 mm x 2-3 mm, straight along the upper margin and undulate along the lower margin. The isthmus is between the 4-8 articles, which is 2/3-4/5 as wide as the pod that splits along the lower margin when ripe. The articles are quadrate, measure 2.5-3 mm long and smooth or hairy. [2]

The seed is broadly elliptical and measuring about 1.5 mm x 2 mm. [2]


D. heterocarpon adapted to a fairly high rainfall of over 1200 mm a year which is can withstand short periods of drought but does not tolerate prolonged flooding. It is tolerant of repeated light frosts, and in the tropics it can grow up to 2500 m altitude. It prefers better-drained soils of light texture. It tolerates soil pH values of 4.3-5.0 with high Al saturation. [2]

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. heterocarpon (L.) DC. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14; cited 2015 May 07]. Available from:
  2. Schultze-Kraft R. Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC. In: Mannetje L't and Jones RM editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 4: Forages. Wageningen, Netherlands; Pudoc Scientific Publisher: 1992. p. 108-110.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p. 262.
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology (5 Volume set). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 1372.
  5. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Mangkit-parang. Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2014 [updated 2013 Jul; cited 2015 May 14]. Available from: