Caribbean Stylo
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Caribbean Stylo
ntroduced Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Caribbean Stylo, Cheesy toes • Marathi: हमाटा hamata
Botanical name: Stylosanthes hamata    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Hedysarum hamatum, Stylosanthes eriocarpa, Stylosanthes humilis, Stylosanthes procumbens

Caribbean Stylo is an annual to short-lived much-branched perennial herb. Stems are semi-erect, mostly 30-75 cm, sometimes prostrate, green. Leaves are compound with 3 leaflets, the central leaflet 1.6-2.6 cm long and 3-6 mm wide, pointed. Flowers are borne in an axillary or terminal oblong spike, up to 2 cm long, with 8-14 yellow pea-shaped flowers with standard petal 4-5 mm wide. Seed-pod is 2-segmented, both segments usually fertile, the upper segment 6-7 mm long (including recurved beak or hook 3-4 mm long), and the lower segment 3.5 mm long. Seeds are tan to dark maroon, mottled, 2-2.5 mm long, unsymmetrically kidney-shaped. Caribbean Stylo is native to the American continents. It is mostly used for permanent pastures. Good for cut and carry as green feed. There is growing use of S. hamata in silvipasture systems in India where it is used in undersowing Eucalytus and Dalbergia forests as well as a component in watershed and soil conservation programs.

Identification credit: Shrikant Ingalhalikar Photographed along NH4 near Belgaum, Karnataka & Papum pare Distt., Arunachal Pradesh.

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