Desmodium spp | tick-trefoil, tick clover, hitch hikers

It is a woody leguminous plant and has many species. Desmodium capitatum, D. ovalifolium and D. gyroides are common species in India. D. gyroides grows to a height of 1-2.5 m and cattle browse the leaves. It is rich in protein.


Desmodium is a genus in the flowering plant family Fabaceae, sometimes called tick-trefoil, tick clover, hitch hikers or beggar lice. There are dozens of species and the delimitation of the genus has shifted much over time.  These are mostly inconspicuous legumes; few have bright or large flowers. Though some can become sizeable plants, most are herbs or small shrubs. Their fruit are loments, meaning each seed is dispersed individually enclosed in its segment. This makes them tenacious plants and some species are considered weeds in places. They have a variety of uses, as well.

Nutritive value

In contrast to the remarkable agronomic performance of D.  ovalifolium  in high rainfall  areas, the nutritive value of the species falls behind other tropical pasture legumes such      as Centrosema spp. or Arachis pintoi. In vitro dry matter digestibility value ranges from 29-56%, which is below the mean value for tropical legumes (56%). Crude protein contents ranges from 12-20%, phosphorus and calcium concentrations from 0.10-0.16% and 0.27- 0.57%, respectively. Fibre contents (acid and neutral detergent fibre) are in the range of 40-50% in D. Ovalifolium.

Deleterious factor