Aeschynomene incana (Sw.) G.Mey.
Desmodium canum Schinz & Thell.
Desmodium frutescens Schindl.
Desmodium portoricense (Spreng.) G.Don
Desmodium racemiferum DC.
Desmodium sparsiflorum G.Don
Desmodium supinum DC.
Hedysarum canescens L.
Hedysarum canescens Mill.
Hedysarum canum J.F.Gmel.
Hedysarum canum Lunan
Hedysarum frutescens Jacq.
Hedysarum frutescens L.
Hedysarum incanum Sw.
Hedysarum incanum Thunb.
Hedysarum madagascariense Desv.
Hedysarum mauritanicum Willd.
Hedysarum portoricense Spreng.
Hedysarum racemiferum J.F.Gmel.
Hedysarum racemosum Aubl.
Hedysarum supinum Sw.
Meibomia adscendens incana (Sw.) Kuntze
Meibomia cana S.F.Blake
Meibomia incana (Sw.) Hoehne
Meibomia incana (Sw.) O.F.Cook & G.N.Collins
Meibomia incana (Sw.) Vail
Meibomia incana Lindm.
Meibomia racemifera (DC.) Kuntze
Meibomia supina (Sw.) Britton
Desmodium incanum is a perennial plant with trailing and creeping stems that can become more or less woody, growing from a deep, branched root system. The plant can grow 10 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; Caribbean; C. America - Panama to Mexico.
Moist or wet thickets or open banks or fields, sometimes in open, pine or oak forest, frequently a weed in waste ground; at elevations up to 1,400 metres[
A plant of the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,700 metres, though it does best below 300 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 25 - 32°c, but can tolerate 7 - 36°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -13°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 3,100mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 4,000mm[
]. Plants can persist and even spread in areas receiving 1000mm[
Prefers a sunny position, but can tolerate quite dense shade[
]. Prefers a fertile, neutral to slightly alkaline soil, but may be grown on a wide range of soil types from sands to light clays[
]. Tolerant of low-fertility soils[
]. Prefers a well-drained soil, but can tolerate temporary inundation of the soil[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 7, tolerating 4 - 8[
One of the commonest weedy plants of many parts of the Central American lowlands, it has escaped from cultivation and become a weed in many areas outside 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[
]. In regions where it is naturalized, it is particularly common along roadsides, wasteland and other disturbed ground[
There are conflicting reports on whether or not this species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, so it is unclear as to whether it fixes atmospheric nitrogen[
Flowers are produced in about 90 days from seed s in north Queensland and in 51 - 81 days in Hawaii[
The whole plant is used in the treatment of haemorrhages[
]. Combined with congo pump (Cecropia sp.) and/or Leonotis nepetifolia, it is used to treat kidney defects[
]. Combined with Asclepias curassavica and Phyllanthus amarus, it is used to treat womb ailments[
Applied externally, the plant is used to treat wounds and cuts[
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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