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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Shrubs or herbs. Stipules free or joined; stipels present. Leaves 1-foliolate or pinnately 3-foliolate. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, falsely racemose or paniculate. Calyx not glume-like, small (tube usually 1-2 mm, lobes 1-5 mm (in ours)), 5-lobed, either the lobes subequal or mostly ± 2-lipped. Standard variously coloured. Ovary sessile (1-)2-many-ovulate. Pod transversely jointed, flattened with (1-)2-many 1-seeded articles, often with hooked hairs.
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Desmodium

Erect, prostrate, or clambering herbs, perennial. Leaves alternate, usually trifoliolate; stipels minute; stipules minute, deciduous or persistent. Inflorescences of axillary or terminal pseudoracemes or panicles; bracts and bracteoles minute, deciduous or persistent. Calyx campanulate, with 5 short, almost equal lobes; corolla yellow, pink, or bluish, the standard oblong to rounded, retuse, narrow at the base, the wings and the keel of the same length; stamens 10, diadelphous or monadelphous; ovary superior, stipitate or sessile, pubescent, with few ovules, the style inflexed, the stigma minute. Fruit a linear legume, flattened or spiral, with the ventral margin or both margins deeply sinuate between the seeds, indehiscent, but separating in segments containing a single seed which adheres to the clothing or the fur of animals; seeds small, oblong. A genus of about 300 species of almost cosmopolitan distribution.

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Ecology

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Tick Trefoil in Illinois

Desmodium glabellum/perplexum (Tick Trefoil)
(Bees collect pollen only; Robertson referred to this plant as Desmodium dillenii, which has been divided into 2 similar species: Desmodium glabellum and Desmodium perplexum)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus pensylvanica; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis, Megachile mendica, Megachile petulans

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:155Public Records:51
Specimens with Sequences:131Public Species:18
Specimens with Barcodes:128Public BINs:0
Species:38         
Species With Barcodes:34         
          
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Desmodium

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Desmodium

Desmodium is a genus in the flowering plant family Fabaceae, sometimes called tick-trefoil, tick clover, hitch hikers or beggar lice. There are dozens of species and the delimitation of the genus has shifted much over time.

These are mostly inconspicuous legumes; few have bright or large flowers. Though some can become sizeable plants, most are herbs or small shrubs. Their fruit are loments, meaning each seed is dispersed individually enclosed in its segment. This makes them tenacious plants and some species are considered weeds in places. They have a variety of uses, as well.

Uses[edit]

Several Desmodium species contain potent secondary metabolites. They are used aggressively in agriculture in push-pull technology. Tick-trefoils produce high amounts of antixenotic allomones - chemicals which repel many insect pests - and allelopathic compounds which kill weeds. For example, D. intortum and D. uncinatum are employed as groundcover in maize and sorghum fields to repel Chilo partellus, a stem-boring grass moth. They also suppress witchweeds such as Asiatic witchweed (Striga asiatica) and purple witchweed (S. hermonthica).[1]

Tick-trefoils are generally useful as living mulch and as green manure, as they are able to improve soil fertility via nitrogen fixation. Most also make good animal fodder.[1]

Some Desmodium species have been shown to contain high amounts of tryptamine alkaloids, though many tryptamine-containing Desmodium species have been transferred to other genera.[1]

DMT and 5-MeO-DMT occur in all green parts of D. gangeticum, as well as the roots. D. triflorum roots contain DMT-N-oxide.[2]

The caterpillars of the Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis) and the Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) feed on tick-trefoils. Deer also appear to rely on some species in certain areas, particularly during the more stressful summer months.

Use in pharmacy[edit]

Some Desmodium species are used in traditional African medicine, and are also used in Western alternative medicine. Research shows it can provide a protection of the liver, probably due to the presence of flavonoids in the plant. [3]

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The taxonomy and systematics of the many dozens of Desmodium species are confusing and unresolved. Related genera such as Codariocalyx, Hylodesmum, Lespedeza, Ohwia, and Phyllodium were and sometimes still are included in Desmodium.[4]

Taxonomic authorities commonly disagree about the naming and placement of species. For example, Desmodium spirale as described by August Grisebach might refer to a distinct species, but its validity is doubtful. The "Desmodium spirale" of other authorities may refer to D. neomexicanum, D. ospriostreblum, or D. procumbens. Similarly, the plant originally described as D. podocarpum by A. P. de Candolle is Hylodesmum podocarpum today, but "Desmodium podocarpum" might also refer to D. hookerianum or Hylodesmum laxum, depending on the taxonomic authority.[4]

Selected species[4][edit]

Desmodium oojeinense parts drawing. Dietrich Brandis (1874): Illustrations of the Forest Flora of North-West and Central India.

Formerly placed here[4][edit]

and many more

References[edit]

  • International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS) (2005): Genus Desmodium. Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2007-DEC-17.
  1. ^ a b c "The Plant Encyclopedia - Desmodium". The Plant Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "5-MeO-DMT N-Oxide". Nexus Wiki. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Hepatoprotective and Antioxidant Activities of Desmodium Triquetrum DC (2011): [1]
  4. ^ a b c d ILDIS (2005)
  5. ^ See discussion at Desmodium incanum


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