Family • Leguminosae - TAYAM - Desmodium heterocarpon Linn. - FALSE GROUND NUT - Jia di dou

Scientific names

Desmodium buergeri Miq.
Desmodium heterocarpum (L.) DC.
Desmodium polycarpum (Poir.) DC.
Desmodium capitatum DC.
Hedysarum heterocarpon Linn.
Hedysarum polycarpum Poir.
Meibomia heterocarpa (L.) Kuntze

Other vernacular names

CAMBODIA: Baay dam’nnaep.
CHINESE: Jia de dou.
INDONESIA: Buntut meyong sisir, Kaci, Akar entimor.
MALAYSIA: Rumput kerbau derapah, Kacang kayu betina.
VIETNAM: Tra[n]g qu’a di qu’a.

Common names

Huyop (If.) Tagiktik (Mbo.)
Huyop-huyop (If.) Tayam (Tag.)
Mangkit-parang (Tag.) Timbalau (Basg.)
Mani-mani (P. Bis.) Asian ticktrefoil (Engl.)
Mani-manian (Tag.) Carpon desmodium (Engl.)
Naangkonod (Mbo.) False ground nut (Engl.)


Tayam is an erect or sub-erect perennial undershrub or creeping woody rootstock, with slightly angular and slender branches, clothed upwards with short, adpressed, grey hairs. Leaves usually have three leaflets, but single leaflets may be found on the lower stems of mature plants. Leaflets are green, hairy above, and thinly clothed with adpressed hairs beneath; the end one obovate-oblong, 2.5 to 7.5 centimeters long, the side ones smaller. Racemes are terminal and lateral, 2.5 to 7.5 centimeters long. Pods are 1.2 to 2 centimeters long.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(2) Study on Chemical Constituents of Desmodium heterocarpon / HUANG Zhong-bi, ZHANG Qian-jun, KANG Wen-yi, LI Chuan-kuan, CHEN Qing / Chinese Journal of Experimental Traditional Medical Formula, 2010-17

(3) Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC. / Synonyms / The Plant List

(4) Antimicrobial studies of leaf extracts from Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC / Arora Shefali, Yadav Vandana, Kumar Pankaj, Kumar Deepak / International Journal of Phytomedicines and Related Industries, 2014, Vol 6, Issue 3 / DOI: 10.5958/0975-6892.2014.00011.2

(5) REPELLENT ACTIVITIES OF SOME INDIGENOUS MEDICINAL PLANTS AGAINST THE STORED GRAIN PESTS TRIBOLIUM CASTANEUM (HBST.) (COLEOPTERA: TENEBRIONIDAE) /  Z. Yesmin Roly, Md. M. Islam , Md. P. Ebna Shaekh , S. Md. Shahik , S. Ala Moududee , S. Mohammad Nur, A.S.M.H.K Chowdhury, Tasnim Faizah Nishi and Md. Khalekuzzaman * / International Journal of Pharmacology / DOI:


– In thickets and open grasslands at low and medium altitudes from northern Luzon to Mindanao.
– Also occurs in India, Sri Lanka, Malacca, Malaya, Zanzibar, China, Japan and Polynesia. Also found in tropical Africa.

– Study isolated eight compounds identified as betulic acid,friedelin ,n-hexadecanoic acid, β-sitosterol, (Z,Z)-9,12-octadecadienoic acid,1-hentetracontanol, octacosane, and vitexin.

– Tonic.
– Most Desmodium species are considered antiinflammatory.

Parts used
Leaves, roots.


Boiled roots used as poultice for sore breasts.
Plant decoction considered tonic and useful for coughs.
In West Java, roots and leaves used for women’s problems.
Santals use a plant preparation for fainting and convulsions.

Practical and resilient long-term grass-legume pasture.


Study Findings 
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic / Antioxidant: A methanolic extract of powdered whole plant showed significant free radical scavenging activity, mild antimicrobial activity, and strong cytotoxicity in brine shrimp lethality bioassay.
• Antioxidant: In a study that evaluated 10 Desmodium species for antioxidant activity, D. heterocarpon showed strong antioxidant activity in the ABTS and DPPH assays.
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated a methanolic leaf extract of DH for antimicrobial activity against various bacterial and fungal strains. Results showed very good antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhi and excellent antifungal activity against all test fungal strains (A. niger, P. chrysogenum, S. cerevisiae, and Candida albicans). The antifungal activity showed more inhibition zone than standard drug ketoconazole.
• Insecticidal: Desmodium heterocarpon whole plant showed insecticidal activity against adult beetles of T. castaneum.