Aeschynomene americana L.

Etymology Genus Deformed moon; referring to the sensitive leaves which will close on touch
Species From America
Family Fabaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Shy Leaf
Status Exotic: Naturalised
Form Shrub
Native Distribution America (United States to Argentina)


Aeschynomene americana is an erect shrub common in scrublands. The pinnate leaves tapers like a lance. It is easy to identify from the red flowers which come with a yellow centre. The fruit pod have segments that are curved at one end.

The species bears some similarity to Aeschynomene indica, another common shrub. However, the latter has yellow flowers with a red centre, and squarish pod segments.

Interesting Facts:

A native to America, it has spread and naturalised throughout the tropical region. In New Guinea, it is invasive and quickly outgrow other species in grazing land as they are avoided by stock (Henty & Pritchard, 1975). It is also regarded as a high risk weed by PIER (2003).

An atypical form of the Shy Leaf. It is normally an upright shrub.

Compound leaf tapers to a point.

Hairs on the stem.

Red flower with yellow centre.

Pods with curved segments.


Henty EE & Pritchard GH. (1975) Weeds of New Guinea and their control. 2nd edition. Department of Forests, Division of Botany, Papua New Guinea. 180 pp.
PIER (2003) Aeschynomene americana. Pacific Island Ecosystem at Risk (PIER), Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. Accessed on 15-Jan-2015.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2015-01-15 / Modified: 2019-08-27