Desmodium campenonii Drake
Desmodium coeruleo-violaceum DC.
Desmodium dimorphum Baker
Desmodium villosum (Mill.) DC.
Hedysarum barbatum L.
Hedysarum coeruleo-violaceum G. Mey.
Hedysarum venustulum Kunth
Hedysarum villosum Mill.
Meibomia barbata (L.) Kuntze
Meibomia cayennense (DC.) Kuntze
Meibomia dimorpha (Welw. ex Baker) Kuntze
Meibomia villosa (Mill.) Kuntze
Nicholsonia barbata (L.) DC.
Nicolsonia cayennensis DC.
Nicolsonia major Steud.
Nicolsonia radicans Steud.
Nicolsonia venustula (Kunth) DC.
Nicolsonia villosa Cham. & Schltdl.
Perrottetia barbata (L.) DC.
Urania barbata (L.) Desv.
Desmodium barbatum is an erect or ascending, short-lived perennial plant with stems that become more or less woody. It can grow up to 100cm tall, but is usually less[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Desmodium barbatum is widespread and common in its natural range. It is known to occur within the protected area network and there are no major threats to the species at present, therefore the population is believed to be stable. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
S. America - from Argentina northwards through the Caribbean and C. America to northern Meico; scattered in tropical Africa; India.
Open, dry or wet, often rocky plains and hillsides, frequently in pine forest or savannahs, at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
Prefers a deep, fertile soil[
]. Grows well on acid, calcium-deficient soils[
A common weedy plant in many areas of its native range[
]. 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[
Early growth is slow[
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[
A decoction of the whole plant is used to treat asthma[
], coughs and colds, and to reduce blood-sugar levels[
]. It is also used in the treatment of cramps in babies, stomachache, pain, fever, haemorrhage, heart problems, impotence, menstruation, and to prevent miscarriage[
The leaf is used as a treatment for hair loss[
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.
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