Codariocalyx gyroides

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Trifoliolate leaves and terminal inflorescence.

Foliage (simple leafed), immature densely haired pods, and seeds.

Foliage (simple leafed).

Short-lived erect shrub.

Many-branched shrub suitable for hedgerow and cut and carry.

Large mature specimen.

From:‘t Mannetje, L. and Jones, R.M. (1992) Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 4. Forages. (Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands). © Prosea Foundation.

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Scientific name

Codariocalyx gyroides (Roxb. ex Link) Hassk.


Desmodium gyroides (Roxb. ex Link) DC.
Hedysarum gyroides Roxb. ex Link [basionym]
Meibomia gyroides (Roxb. ex Link) Kuntze


Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae) subfamily: Faboideae tribe: Desmodieae subtribe: Desmodiinae. Also placed in: Papilionaceae.

Common names

codarrio;  sanagori (Indonesia);  kamphem (Cambodia);  thua desmodium (Thailand);  cora-cora (Colombia).

Morphological description

A short-lived erect shrub with multiple stems growing 1–3 m tall.  Old stems can reach 4 cm in diameter.  The tops of the stems and inflorescences are usually covered with long hairs.  Leaves with 1–3 oval leaflets (up to 8 cm long and 5 cm wide) on petioles 1–3 cm long.   Flowers, usually double, on terminal or axillary inflorescences.  Flower colour starts light pink and then becomes darker.  Seedpods up to 5 cm long with 5–12 segments covered with dense hairs;  c. 190,000 seeds/kg.


Native to:
China:  China (south).
Indian subcontinent:  Bhutan, India (east), Nepal, Sri Lanka.
Indo-China :  Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.
Malesia:  Malaysia, Papua New Guinea.

Now distributed throughout the tropics for evaluation.


Short-term legume for intercropping, green manure and cut-and-carry feed.  In Caquetá State (Colombian Piedmont) farmers strip the leaves off the twigs for cut-and-carry.  Usually grown as a hedgerow and sometimes as shade in establishing plantations of coffee and cocoa.


Soil requirements

Tolerant of low fertility, high Al, low pH and poor drainage.  Can be grown in a range of soil but may suffer from root-knot nematodes on sandy soils.


Grown in the humid tropics with rainfall between 1,500 and 4,000 mm. It can be grown up to 2,000 m in the tropics or in the subtropical lowlands.  It can persist through a dry season of up to 3 months but is not productive under drought conditions.  It can tolerate short-term flooding.


Warm season growth with poor production in the cool season.  Not frost tolerant but it occurs at altitudes of 1,900 m in Papua New Guinea.


Medium to low shade-tolerance.

Reproductive development


This shrub does not tolerate grazing.  Cattle tend to strip off the leaves injuring the stem .  Stems must not be cut too low if the plant is to sprout again and persist.  Stems should not be cut below 0.5–1.0 m and with a frequency of not less than 6–10 weeks.  Plant persistence under cutting heights of 5, 25 and 50 cm was 0%, 33% and 50% respectively. Persistence was high in Colombian Piedmont when cut at 80 cm, but there was considerable variation among accessions.


As a hedgerow, it would not normally be burned, but it has survived and recovered from fire when growing in Imperata grasslands in Indonesia.


Guidelines for the establishment and management of sown pastures.


Seed can be planted for a hedgerow or at spacings of 0.5 m x 1.0 m.  Initial growth is slow but the plant should flower within a year. (Flowering between 140 and >250 days from establishment in Colombian Piedmont).


No information available.

Compatibility (with other species)

Not normally grown in a mixture.  Has been grown with para grass (Brachiaria mutica ) on wet lands; or as hedgerows with B. humidicola (Colombian Piedmont).

Companion species

Grasses:  Brachiaria humidicola , B. mutica .

Pests and diseases

The plants can be damaged by insect larvae burrowing in the stems, by fungal diseases and by root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne javanica) in lighter soils, being particularly sensitive during longer dry periods.

Ability to spread

Virtually no spread but there may be some seedling regeneration under lightly defoliated plants.

Weed potential

No information available.

Feeding value

Nutritive value

Generally good N and mineral concentrations but low nutritional value because of high tannin content in the leaves.  Considerable variation between genotypes in crude protein, extractable condensed tannins and IVDM digestibility irrespective of maturity.  Digestibility can be as low as 20% in the wet season.  Range from 36–49% IVDMD in young leaves (Colombian Piedmont).


Unpalatable probably due to high tannins.  Very poor acceptability/rejection under grazing with improved grasses, but better with low quality native grasses.  However, there are contradictory results from literature.  In the Colombian Piedmont, dairy cattle accepted it as long as sufficient grass was available;  rejected when tested as sole feed.


 None reported.

Production potential

Dry matter

High early productivity.  In Colombian Piedmont, dry matter of 56–57% during ‘humid’ and 73–75% during the ‘dry’ season, but a typical 18-month-old stand yielded 2 t/ha of edible DM containing 3% N, equivalent to 385 kg/ha protein.  In the Colombian Llanos Orientales, it has yielded over 1 t/ha of protein over a 40-week period.

Animal production

No information available.


2n = 22;  certain level of outcrossing possible (>20% offtypes in Colombian Piedmont) when suitable insects are available.

Seed production

Seed production of 23,000 seeds/plant.  (c. 120 g/plant.)

Herbicide effects

No information available.



Other comments

Mostly accession CIAT 3001 (CF 29, CPI 76104, ILCA 124) has been evaluated widely;  probably several times re-introduced to CIAT, ILRI, and ATFGRC genebanks with new numbers.  A reasonable germplasm collection with high variability is available at CIAT.

Selected references

Lazier, J.R. (1981a) Effect of cutting height and frequency on dry matter production of Codariocalyx gyroides (syn. Desmodium gyroides) in Belize, Central America. Tropical Grasslands, 15, 10–16.
Lazier, J.R. (1981b) Performance of three persistent native legumes and Codariocalyx gyroides (syn. Desmodium gyroides) with Brachiaria mutica under grazing (Belize). Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad), 58, 235–243.
Maass, B.L., Franco, L.H., Ramírez, G., Lascano, C.E. and Velásquez, J.E. (1997) Codariocalyx gyroides - a new forage option for the humid tropics. Proceedings of the XVIII International Grassland Congress, 8-19 June 1997, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Vol. 1, 53–54.
Maass, B.L., Lascano, C.E. y Cárdenas, E.A. (1996a) La leguminosa arbustiva Codariocalyx gyroides . 2. Valor nutritivo y aceptabilidad en el piedemonte amazÓnico, Caquetá, Colombia. Pasturas Tropicales, 18, 10–16.
Maass, B.L., Keller-Grein, G. y Meléndez, C.G. (1996b) La leguminosa arbustiva Codariocalyx gyroides . 1. EvaluaciÓn agronÓmica en el trÓpico húmedo. Pasturas Tropicales, 18, 2–9.
Maass, B.L., Keller-Grein, G. and Schultze-Kraft, R. (1996c) Codariocalyx gyroides – a fodder shrub for the humid tropics. [Codariocalyx gyroides – ein Futterbusch für die humiden Tropen]. Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Pflanzenbauwissenschaften (Germany), 9, 233–234.
Soedomo, R. (1992) Codariocalyx gyroides (Roxb. ex Link) Hassk. In: 't Mannetje, L. and Jones, R.M. (eds) Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 4. Forages. pp. 97–98. (Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands).



Country/date released


None released to date.      

Promising accessions

Promising accessions



CIAT 3001 Colombia Origin Belize.
CIAT 3001 (CF 29, CPI 76104, ILCA 124), CIAT 13547, CIAT 33131, CIAT 23746. Colombia Piedmont (Caquetá State), under 80 cm cutting on poorly drained, very acid soils.