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Family Fabaceae / Leguminosae
Desmodium heterophyllum (Willd.) DC.

Yi ye shan ma huang

Scientific names Common names
Desmodium heterophyllum (Willd.) DC. Hetero (Engl.)
Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC var. majus W&A Spanish clover (Engl.)
Hedysarum heterophyllum Willd. Greater clover-leaved desmodium (Engl.)
Meibomia heterophylla (Willd.) Kuntze Variable leaf ticktrefoil (Engl.)
Meibomia triphylla O, Kuntze Variable vagina wort (Engl.)
  Yi ye shan ma huang (Engl.)

Other vernacular names
CAMBODIAN: Trom prei, Smau 'am'bok.
CHINESE:Yi ye shan lu dou, Bian ye shan ma huang, Tian hu zhi zhu.
INDIA: Tellausiri.
INDONESIAN: Sisik betok, Heuheulangan, Sukut jareman, Kimulas.
LAOTIAN: Padong mod liinz.
MALAYSIAN: Rumput sisek naga, Rumput sisek betok, Rumput telinga tikus.
THAI: Ya-maengmi.
VIETNAMESE: Ha[n] the, Trang qu'a di diep.

Desmodium heterophyllum is a prostrate, spreading, slender plant, with stems 10 to 40 centimeters long, clothed with long, spreading hairs. Leaves are 3-foliate on top, and unifoliate lower down. Leaflets are oblong, elliptic, or obovate-oblong, 1 to 2 centimeters long, and hairy beneath. Flowers are purple, and 5 to 6 millimeters long. Pods are about 1.5 centimeters long, with 4 or 5 joints which are as broad as they are long; the upper suture is continuous and the lower indented.

- In open, usually damp grasslands, old clearings, etc., at low and medium altitudes in Ilocos Norte, Rizal, and Quezon Provinces in Luzon; in Polillo; and in Palawan.
- Also native to China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.

Moderate levels of tannins.

Considered carminative, tonic, and diuretic.
Leaves considered galactagogue.

Parts used
Roots, twigs, leaves, juice.


- Roots and leaves, pounded together, are applied to sores.
- Juice dropped into the ear for earache.
- Decoctionn taken for stomachaches and other abdominal complaints.
- In Cambodia, twigs and leaves used to treat urinary retention and digestive complaints. Also used for diarrhea and dysentery. Leaves used as galatagogue.
- In Mauritius, used as a diuretic, for dysentery, and as a cooling medicine.
- In Lombok, Indonesia, roots, stems, and leaves used for scabies and itches.
- In West Java, Indonesia, used as postpartum remedy. Also for lack of appetite.
- In India, whole plant used as galactagogue and expectorant. Also used as tonic and diuretic. Plant decoction used for stomach aches.
- In Malaysia, used for sores, earaches, stomach aches and abdominal complaints.
- Fodder: For cattle grazing, low yield but good forage,with a nutritive value of 17-18% CP, and no reported toxicity.

No medicinal studies found.


Last Update July 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Desmodium triflorum / Maui / Credit: Forest and Kim Starr - Plants of Hawaii - Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, permitting sharing and adaptation with attribution / click on image to see source page / alterVISTA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Seeds / Desmodium heterophyllum (Willd.) DC. - variable-leaf ticktrefoil / Steve Hurst / USDA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Variable leaf ticktrefoil / Michael Kesi / India, Margao / 02.2009 / click on image to see source page / Creative Commons Attribution / BioLib

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Desmodium heterophyllum / Tropical Forages
Desmodium heterophyllum DC - FABACEAE - Dicotyledon / OswaldAsia
Medicinal Plants / P P Joy, J Thomas, Samuel Mathew et al / Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station
Trout’s Notes on the Genus Desmodium / K Trout / Trouts Notes
Initial Studies on Alkaloids from Lombok Medicinal Plants / Surya Hadi and John B Brenner / Molecules, 2001
Desmodium heterophyllum (Willd.) DC. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Desmodium heterophyllum (Wiild.) DC. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Medicinal plants used by the villagers of a Sundanese community in West Java, Indonesia
/ Katrin Roosita, Clara M. Kusharto, Makiko Sekiyama∗, Yulian Fachrurozi, Ryutaro Ohtsuka / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 115 (2008) 72–81

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