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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Desmodium

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Fabales > Family: Fabaceae > Subfamily: Papilionoideae

About 300 species, native to tropical and subtropical regions, with 15 species native to southern Africa and a further seven species that are cultivated in the region.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of southern Africa - an online checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Desmodium adscendens

Desmodium asperum


Desmodium barbatum

Desmodium dregeanum


Desmodium gangeticum

Desmodium hirtum

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Desmodium incanum


Desmodium ospriostreblum

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Desmodium repandum 

Desmodium salicifolium


Desmodium setigerum


Desmodium stolzii

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Desmodium tanganyikense

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Desmodium tortuosum (Florida beggarweed)

Desmodium velutinum

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). Note: Desmodium umbellatum is now known as Dendrolobium umbellatum.

Desmodium canadense

Native to eastern Canada and the USA.


Desmodium laevigatum

Native to the USA.


Desmodium oojeinense

Native to India.


Desmodium procumbens

[= Desmodium spirale]

Native to tropical regions.


Desmodium psilocarpum

Recorded from Zimbabwe, native to Santa Cruz Island, USA.


Desmodium elegans

[= Desmodium tiliifolium]

Native from India to Burma.


Desmodium trifolium

Native from the USA to tropical South America.

Desmodium uncinatum

Native from Peru to Brazil.


  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.