Desmodium tortuosum (Sw.) DC.

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Desmodium tortuosum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Katima Mulilo area, near APL power plant

Desmodium tortuosum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Katima Mulilo area, near APL power plant

Desmodium tortuosum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Katima Mulilo area, near APL power plant

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Hedysarum tortuosum Sw.
Meibomia tortuosa (Sw.) Kuntze
Common names: Florida beggar weed (English)
Status: Introduced
Erect perennial herb or subshrub, up to 1.5 m. A native of tropical America, it is widespread in the tropical world, where it is cultivated as a nitrogen-enricher. Leaves 3-foliolate with small hairs on both surfaces and longer hairs on the veins below. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, up to 30 cm long. Flowers blue-mauve or pink, occasionally blue-green. Pods up to 3.2 cm, glandular hairy, often twisted at the constrictions between the articles.
Derivation of specific name: tortuosum: much twisted, referring to the pods
Habitat: A weed of roadsides, railways and cultivated land, also in Brachystegia woodland and wooded grassland.
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native of tropical America but widely cultivated as a nitrogen-enricher and hence naturalised.
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 28 February 2024

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 219.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 47.

Verdcourt, B. (2000). Papilionoideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(6) Pages 11 - 12.

Other sources of information about Desmodium tortuosum:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Desmodium tortuosum
Flora of Malawi: Desmodium tortuosum
Flora of Mozambique: Desmodium tortuosum
Flora of Zambia: Desmodium tortuosum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Desmodium tortuosum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Desmodium tortuosum
African Plant Database: Desmodium tortuosum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Desmodium tortuosum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Desmodium tortuosum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Desmodium tortuosum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Desmodium tortuosum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Desmodium tortuosum
JSTOR Plant Science: Desmodium tortuosum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Desmodium tortuosum
Plants of the World Online: Desmodium tortuosum
Tropicos: Desmodium tortuosum
Wikipedia: Desmodium tortuosum

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Caprivi: Species information: Desmodium tortuosum., retrieved 25 May 2024

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