A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Desmodium spicatum Rehd.

Modern name

Desmodium elegans DC.

A deciduous, laxly branched shrub up to 6 or 8 ft high; young shoots herbaceous, purplish, hairy, ribbed. Leaves trifoliolate, 3 to 6 in. long; main-stalk downy, grooved. Terminal leaflet the largest, up to 2 in. long, roundish obovate to rhomboid with a stalk up to 34 in. long; lateral leaflets shortly stalked, obliquely ovate, smaller; all bluntish or minutely pointed, dark green and with short hairs above, covered with a grey, thick, soft down beneath. Inflorescence a terminal raceme up to 6 in. long, sometimes with a branch or two at the base, the pea-like flowers in whorls of six or eight. Corolla rosy-carmine, 58 in. long, standard petal heart-shaped with incurved margins, greenish at the base. Calyx funnel-shaped at the base, 110 in. long, downy, with five ovate pointed lobes. Pod curved, 2 in. long, 316 in. wide, downy, four- to six-jointed, flattened, scalloped or crenulated on the upper side as is common to this genus. Bot. Mag., t. 8805.

Native of W. Szechwan, China; raised by Maurice de Vilmorin from Chinese seeds in 1896. By him it was sent to Kew, where it has proved quite hardy, flowering very freely in September and October provided it gets a sunny autumn. It was also found by Wilson in W. Szechwan and plants raised from his seeds are in gardens.



Other species in the genus