Aeschynomene indica (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Aeschynomene indica L.

Family: Leguminosae - Papilionoideae


  • Aeschynomene aspera auct., non L.,
  • A. diffusa Klein ex Willd.,
  • A. pumila L.

Vernacular names

  • Buddha pea (En)
  • Indonesia: peupeuteuyan (Sundanese), dinding, katisan (Javanese)
  • Cambodia: snaô ach mon (Kandal), snaô ba:y (Battambang)
  • Laos: sanô:
  • Thailand: sano-hin, sano-kangkhok
  • Vietnam: dâu ma (Hanoi), dièn dièn búng (An Giang).


Old World tropics, including South-East Asia; probably introduced into the Americas.


In India and Indonesia used as green manure mainly in rice fields but also in tea plantations. Its wood ("sola wood") has a specific gravity of 0.04 and is the lightest wood known; it is sometimes wrongly considered as pith; it is used for handicraft, but is inferior to that of A. aspera L. A. indica is moderately palatable as a forage, even after plants have died, but it has been suspected of being toxic. It occasionally causes weed problems e.g. in Australia and India.


  • Erect, branched, shrubby, annual herb, 0.5-2.5 m tall, glabrous. Stem hollow, at the base warty with stem nodules and coated with white aerenchyma.
  • Leaves pinnate; stipules 6-7 mm long, extending below the leaf; rachis 5-7 cm long; leaflets 17-71, very close together, 3-15 mm × 1-4 mm, asymmetrical at base.
  • Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 1-6-flowered, 2-5 cm long.
  • Calyx with shortly bifid upper lip, shortly trifid lower lip; standard 7-9 mm × 4-7 mm, yellow with purple streaks or patches.
  • Pod stalked, 2.5-5 cm × 0.4 cm, 5-13-jointed.
  • Seed reniform, 2-3 mm long, brownish.

A. indica occurs mostly in wet sites, seasonally flooded or waterlogged grasslands, swamp margins, also on alkaline or saline heavy clay soils, up to 1000(-1600) m altitude. It forms aerial nodules on the stem with specialized Rhizobium spp. If its habitat is not waterlogged, the plant symbioses with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and nodulates with Rhizobium spp.

Selected sources

  • Allen, O.N. & Allen, E.K., 1981. The Leguminosae - A source book of characteristics, uses and nodulation. Macmillan, London, United Kingdom. 812 pp.
  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr., R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. 647, 641, 761 pp.
  • Bogdan, A.V., 1977. Tropical pasture and fodder plants (grasses and legumes). Longman, London, United Kingdom. 475 pp.
  • Editorial Committee of the Flora of Taiwan (Editor), 1993-1994. Flora of Taiwan. 2nd Edition. Volumes 1 and 3. Epoch Publishing Company, Taipei, Taiwan. 648, 1084 pp.
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa (various editors), 1952-. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom & A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêt-nam [Flora of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam] (various editors), 1960-. Volume 1-. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie, Paris, France.
  • Hacker, J.B., 1990. A guide to herbaceous and shrub legumes of Queensland. University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Australia. 351 pp.
  • Lazarides, M. & Hince, B. (Editors), 1993. CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 330 pp.
  • Nasir, E. & Ali, S.I. (Editors), 1970-. Flora of (West) Pakistan. Volume 1-. Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan.


  • M.S.M. Sosef & L.J.G. van der Maesen