Dendrolobium umbellatum (L.) Benth.

Etymology Genus Tree (Dendron) pod (lobos)
Species After umbel, a type of inflorescence where the flowers are attached to a central point
Family Fabaceae
Synonyms Desmodium australe (Willd.) DC., Desmodium umbellatum (L.) DC., Hedysarum umbellatum L.
Common Names Horse Bush, Sea Vetch Tree, Petai Laut
Status Native: Common
Form Shrub or small tree
Native Distribution Tropical Africa, East Asia, Indian subcontinent, Indochina, Malesia, Australia, and Pacific Islands


Dendrolobium umbellatum is a common shrub of the beach forest, and often prostrating out towards the sea (Corner, 1997). The leaves are trifoliated, and flowers and fruits all year round. The flowers are creamy white while the fruits are quite unique, resembling a beaded chain.

Interesting Facts:

The Horse Bush is planted to improve soil conditions (as it is a nitrogen fixer), and for controlling soil erosion (Selvam, 2007).

The Horse Bush with its straggling form, taken at the beach forest in Lazarus Island.

The species as a small cultivated tree.

The flowers are small and arranged in an umbel.

The fruit pods are beaded.

The leaves are trifoliate.


Corner EJH. (1997) Wayside Trees of Malaya. Volume 1. 4th edition. The Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 476 pp.
Selvam V. (2007) Trees and Shrubs of the Maldives. Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources, Maldives. Accessed on 26-May-2013.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-05-26 / Modified: 2017-12-25