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Desmodium ormocarpoides



Botanical Name

Desmodium ormocarpoides DC.

Candolle, A.P. de (1825) Prodromus 2: 327. Type: in Java. Hedys. ormocarpoides. Desv.! in herb. ... (v.s. in h. Venten nunc Deless.).


Desmodium dependens Blume ex Miq., Flora van Nederlandsch Indie 1(1): 248(), Type: D. dependens Blume Herb. L.B. Ob legumen valde juvenile sectio dubia ... Moluksche eilanden. Nieuw Guinea.

Common name

Cascading Pea


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.


Petioles about 3 cm long, deeply grooved on the upper surface. Leaf blades about 10-11 x 5.5-6.5 cm. Stipels present about 2-4 mm below the base of the leaf blade, each stipel about 3 mm long. Underside of the leaf blade puberulous. Stipules about 3-5 mm long. Lateral veins curving but not forming distinct loops inside the blade margin.


Flowers without any obvious odour. Racemes long (about 30-60 cm), pendulous. Calyx about 3 mm long. The broadest sepal is minutely 2-lobed at the apex. Corolla about 4-5 mm long. Petals stalked, i.e. clawed. Stamens 10, the filaments of nine stamens fused to form a tube with the anthers alternately higher and lower. One stamen completely free. Ovules about five. Style curved like a shepherds crook.


Pods about 5-10 cm long, breaking up into 1-seeded segments which adhere to clothes by means of hooked hairs. Embryo green, cotyledons narrowly ovoid, radicle lateral, close to the base of the seed.


First pair of leaves cordate. At the tenth leaf stage: stipules narrowly triangular, about 2-4 mm long. Stipels present about 3 mm below the base of the leaf blade. Leaves puberulous on the underside. Midrib raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and southwards to coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Grows as an understory plant in and on the margins of well developed rain forest or gallery forest. Also occurs in Malesia, New Hebrides and New Guinea.

Natural History

A locally common species of rainforest margins in the tropics. Of no grazing significance. Hacker (1990).





Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)


Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)


RFK Code