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Hetero
(Desmodium heterophyllum)

 

 
Hetero - illustration
  • creeping perennial legume
  • resistant to heavy grazing
  • compatable with signal grass under grazing
  • planted from runners as no seed available
  • for northern wet tropical coast.

Desmodium heterophyllum (Wild,) DC. - 1 flowering and fruiting branch;
2 fruits; 3 seeds.

Hetero is one of the few perennial tropical legumes compatable with vigorous creeping tropical grasses such as signal grass and humidicola. It will grow on a wide range of soils, including those with water-logging and low pH; it is one of the most efficient legume species at extracting soil phosphorus, but responds well to super.

Hetero is low-growing and not very conspicuous compared to the vigorous trailing species. It has prostrate stems that root strongly at the nodes, and flowers continuously from April-December in north Queensland with tiny pink flowers that are produced close to the ground. The seed pods are segmented, and break as the seeds mature.

Commercial seed is not currently available, but the plant establishes readily from cuttings. Cattle eat the seed with herbage, and spread it around.

Hetero-grass pastures must be grazed heavily during the summer for the legume to persist and spread. It will persist and spread under heavy grazing.

Hetero has been released as cv. Johnstone. While specific in its rhizobial requirements, this is no problem with vegetative propagation.

Creator: Ian Partridge,
Date created: 14 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003
 

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