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Desmodium heterophyllum (Willd.) DC.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Variable-leaf Tick Trefoil, Spanish Clover, Greater Clover-Leaved Desmodium, Hetero, Rumput Sisek Naga
Full Sun Little Water Native to Singapore Creeper


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Creeper
Maximum Height 15 cm to 20 cm


Native Distribution Pantropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Tropical legume with a prostrate and branching growth habit.
Foliage Compound leaves are composed of 3 oval to obovate leaflets. Leaflets have smooth edges (entire margin) with a slight notch at the tip (emarginate). They are densely covered in soft, white hairs.
Stems Young stems are covered in soft brown hairs (1.5-2.0 mm long), while mature stems are woody and hairless.
Flowers Small flowers are pink and pea-like (3-5 mm long).
Fruits Fruits are short pods (1.2-2.5 cm long) with wavy edges. Bean-shaped seeds are dark brown and smooth.
Similar This species is similar to Desmodium triflorum, but it has a hairy calyx while D. triflorum doesn't.
Cultivation This species is shade tolerant.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The Chinese use the plant as remedy for dysentery, to treat rheumatism and to relieve fever. The Malays drink a decoction of the roots for stomach ache and used a poultice to treat skin problems. The plant is used by Indonesians and the Filipinos to treat wounds and ulcers.)

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Groundcover

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple

Image Repository



Master ID 630
Species ID 1925
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 03 August 2022.