Desmodium striatum (Thunb.) DC.
Hedysarum striatum Murray
Hedysarum striatum Thunb.
Lespedeza striata (Thunb.) Hook. & Arn.
Meibomia striata (Thunb.) Kuntze
Microlespedeza makinoi Tanaka
Microlespedeza striata (Thunb.) Makino
Common Name: Common Lespedeza
Kummerowia striata is an annual, usually much-branched, prostrate plant growing from a shallow root system[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is grown as a green manure and for stabilizing the soil.
Kummerowia striata has been much used as a green manure and cover crop in the USA. It has escaped from cultivation there and become naturalized.
E. Asia - Russian Far East, Japan, China, India, Korea, Vietnam
Waste ground and roadsides all over Japan[
]. Clayey, sandy and gravelly soils, riverbanks, roadsides and non-populated areas, always in large quantities[
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Kummerowia striata is a plant of the warm temperate to subtropical zone, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It generally does not thrive in tropical climates. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 16 - 26°c, but can tolerate 6 - 36°c[
]. The plant is frost-tender[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 500 - 1,600mm[
Grows best in a sunny position, tolerating light shade[
]. Succeeds in a wide range of well-drained soils, from sandy to clayey, growing best in moderately fertile conditions but also succeeding in low fertility[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.9 - 7.3[
]. Plants are moderately drought tolerant[
A short-day, warm-season plant, it does not commence flowering until late summer when daylight length is below 13 hours[
Plants produce both perfect flowers with petals and cleistogamous flowers that have no petals, do not open, but develop fertile seed without pollination[
Cultivated as a green manure and soil improvement crop, there is at least one named variety[
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[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Seed - cooked. The seed can be ground into a meal and used with cereal flours in making bread etc[
]. The seed contains 26.4 - 51.9% protein and 4.3 - 7.3% fat[
Young plant - cooked[
]. A nutritional analysis is available[
The whole plant is used medicinally as a diuretic, for reducing fever, and treating diarrhea[
]. A decoction of the plant is used in the treatment of extreme physical debility and swellings[
]. It is boiled with Centella asiatica and Prunella vulgaris for the treatment of dysentery, headache and vertigo[
]. A broth is used to improve the appetite[
The plant is fast growing, has an extensive root system, fixes atmospheric nitrogen, and produces a thick mat of vegetation. It has been widely used, especially in N. America, as a green manure, for restoring fertility to worn-out soils and for preventing erosion[
The plant can be undersown in late winter in a field of grain - it will continue growing when the grain is harvested in the summer and can be turned in in late summer in order to nourish the soil[
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow in situ from late winter to mid spring.