A genus of about 275-300 species, annual herbs, perennial herbs, and shrubs, nearly cosmopolitan (but lacking from Europe). In our area, Desmodium is a complex genus. Some of the species in our area are confusing and can be identified only with difficulty.
ID notes: In fruit, Desmodium is easy to recognize, as one of only four genera of Fabaceae in our region with loments (legumes which separate into one-seeded segments along sutures). Aeschynomene has pinnately compound leaves with many leaflets, in contrast to the trifoliolate (exceptionally unifoliolate) leaves of Desmodium. The other two genera have both often been treated as components of Desmodium. Grona is represented in our flora by a single naturalized species, Grona triflora, in the Coastal Plain of FL, GA, AL, and e. LA (and to be expected in MS and perhaps other nearby areas); it has flowers in axillary clusters rather than axillary or terminal racemes or panicles. Hylodesmum consists of three species occurring in mainly shady, forested settings, separable from Desmodium by many characters (see key).
Ref: Grund (2022) In Weakley et al. (2022); Isely (1998); Krings (2004); Ohashi (2013); Ohashi & Ohashi (2018); Ohashi et al. (2018); Ohashi in FNA (in prep.); Raveill (2002); Thomas (2020). Show full citations.