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Desmodium caudatum is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 1.50 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
E. Asia - China, Japan, Himalayas.
Woods in C. and S. Japan[
]. Mountain slopes, roadsides, grasslands, streamsides and forest margins at elevations of 100 - 1000 metres in China[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny sheltered position[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The plant is analgesic, antipyretic, antiseptic and depurative[
]. The root and leaves are used[
]. The whole plant is used in the treatment of febrile diseases, rheumatic arthritis, and bacillary dysentery[
The plant has been shown to have antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic activities[
The roots and leaves are used as a pesticide[
In a trial, a methane extract of the leaves at a concentration of 10,000ppm in distilled water reduced the egg hatching of root nematodes by 94% after 21 days compared with a control[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Scarify and pre-soak stored seed for 5 hours in warm water then sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates within 1 - 4 months at 25°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from frost in their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, mid summer in a frame.
Division as the plant comes into growth in the spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Root cuttings in winter.