Alysicarpus rugosus (Willd.) DC.
Alysicarpus rugosus (Willd.) DC. subsp. perennirufus J. Léonard
Alysicarpus rugosus (Willd.) DC. subsp. rugosus
Hedysarum rugosum Willd.
Fabricia rugosa (Willd.) Kuntze
Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae) subfamily: Faboideae tribe: Desmodieae subtribe: Desmodiinae. Also placed in: Papilionaceae.
red moneywort, rough chainpea.
Prostrate to erect annual or perennial legume growing to 60 cm, occasionally to 150 cm. Oblong to lanceolate leaves to 100 mm long x 20 mm wide with papery stipules to 8 mm.
Dense mass of reddish flowers in racemes to 100 mm long; pods 12 mm long with 3–5 joints with prominent transverse ribs, breaking into segments when ripe. The pod articles are 1–3 mm long and 1.5–3 mm wide.
Morphological traits vary greatly within the species.
Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar
Asia: China – Yunnan (south).
Indian Subcontinent: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
Indo-China: Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.
Malesia: Indonesia, Malaysia.
Australasia: Australia - Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia (north).
Naturalised in Taiwan. Now found throughout the tropics.
Possible use as an annual ley legume, for cut and carry, green manure or grazing. Seeds are listed as a famine food in India.
Grows on sandy loam to clay soils. Literature suggests poor adaptation to acid-infertile soils.
Grows in areas with 600–1,500 mm annual rainfall but apparently better adapted to areas with higher (>900mm) rainfall .
Warm season growth, but grown up to 1,400 m in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Intolerant of low light conditions.
Probably a short day plant. Variable maturity but seeds in first year of growth.
Poor persistence under grazing; poor regeneration from seed.
Unlikely to tolerate fire unless the plant has dropped seed, enabling regeneration from soil seed reserves.
Guidelines for the establishment and management of sown pastures.
Generally planted in a species mixture at 0.25–0.5 kg/ha seed. Hard seed coat requires scarification . Early growth is generally rapid, but long-term persistence is generally poor for planted crops.
No information available.
Compatibility (with other species)
Poor compatability with aggressive weeds or grasses especially in drier environments.
Generally sown in a mixture of herbaceous and twining legumes.
Pests and diseases
No information available.
Ability to spread
Limited ability to spread under grazing because of high palatability and short-lived life cycle. Although good seed set may occur in the first year, hard-seededness prevents early recruitment from seed.
Recorded as a weed of wet season cropping in India (upland rice, mung beans and pigeon pea). Has become naturalised in Australia and Taiwan. Hard-seededness assists long-term spread.
Crude protein concentrations range from 15–22% for leaf, and 8–10% for stem. Tends to become stemmy in mixed pastures. In Zambia, stem comprised 60% of total yield.
In single species plots, annual DM yields of 3,000–7,500 kg/ha have been recorded in Zambia, Vanuatu and Australia. Annual yields declined progressively and substantially in the second and third years of growth and most accessions failed to persist beyond the third year.
Few evaluations for animal production potential were cited. Green lucerne as a supply of 50% of crude protein requirements for crossbred dairy weaner cattle in India was replaced by A. rugosus hay without reduction in liveweight gains. Similar results were reported in related work where liveweight gains were maximised at 40% replacement of crude protein requirements with A. rugosus hay.
No breeding programs have been undertaken. Substantial variation exists in morphology and ability to perennate.
Heavy seed production but harvest is difficult due to uneven ripening and break-up of seedpods when ripe.
Two-day-old seedlings were susceptible to 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, MCPA and aminotriazole at concentrations of 500–1,000 ppm .
- Rapid establishment.
- Highly palatable.
- Short-lived and hard-seeded, resulting in poor persistence.
- Regeneration from seed is generally poor for planted crops.
Tested as a ley legume for heavy textured soils in Queensland, Australia.