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Useful Tropical Plants

Desmodium gangeticum

(L.) DC.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Aeschynomene gangetica (L.) Poir.

Aeschynomene maculata (L.) Poir.

Desmodium cavaleriei H.Lev.

Desmodium lanceolatum Walp.

Desmodium maculatum (L.) DC.

Desmodium natalitium Sond.

Desmodium polygonoides Baker

Hedysarum collinum Roxb.

Hedysarum gangeticum L.

Hedysarum lanceolatum Schum. & Thonn.

Hedysarum lanceolatum Schumach. & Thonn.

Hedysarum maculatum L.

Hedysarum ochroleucum Moench

Hedysarum pseudogangeticum Miq

Meibomia gangetica (L.) Kuntze

Meibomia polygonodes (Baker) Kuntze

Pleurolobus gangeticus (L.) J. St. Hil.

Pleurolobus gangeticus J.St.-Hil.

Pleurolobus maculatus J.St.-Hil.

Common Name: Salpani

Desmodium gangeticum
Flowers and a leaf
Photograph by: Fagg, M.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Desmodium gangeticum Desmodium gangeticum Desmodium gangeticum Desmodium gangeticum Desmodium gangeticum Desmodium gangeticum Desmodium gangeticum

General Information

Salpani is a very variable perennial plant. Usually much-branched, it can be erect or prostrate with stems that can range from herbaceous to woody and persistant. It can be just a few centimetres tall, or can occasionally reach up to 2 metres tall and look somewhat tree-like[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Frequently used as medicinal plant, it is also cultivated, especially in southeast Asia, as a green manure[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Tropical Africa, E. Asia - China, Japan, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia.

Habitat

A very common weed in Malesia, mainly found in anthropogenic habitats in the lowlands, under everwet or seasonal conditions. In Indo-China it is found in savannahs and deforested terrains, in hedges and along forest paths, at elevations up to 1,900 m[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitShrub
Height1.50 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details



Because of the abundant small uncinate hairs on most species, the seedpods cling most tenaciously to clothing, to any part of the human body, and also to the feathers and hair of various animals, thus ensuring a wide dispersal of the plants[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. The plant has often escaped from cultivation and is classified as an invasive weed in some areas[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

A decoction of the leaves is used against stones in the gall bladder, kidneys or bladder[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The leaves are applied as a poultice to the head as a treatment for headache[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The roots are considered to be alterative, astringent, bitter tonic, diuretic, expectorant and febrifuge[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A decoction of the root is employed to treat kidney problems, oedema, swellings, chronic fever, coughs, biliousness, diarrhoea and dysentery; or as a sedative for children[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The roots are applied to the gums as a treatment for toothache[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A decoction is used externally to clean wounds and ulcers[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The whole plant is considered to be anthelmintic[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Used as a green manure in tea plantations[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Conflicting information exists on the plants usefulness as a green manure[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant has been recommended as a cover crop for rubber plantations and for erosion control[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Other Uses

The fibrous stems are reported to be useful for paper production[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed develops a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
The seed usually germinates within 1 - 4 months at 25°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel.
Division. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on until they are rooting well.
Root cuttings.

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