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Codariocalyx Species, Semaphore Plant, Telegraph Plant

Codariocalyx motorius

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Codariocalyx
Species: motorius
Synonym:Codariocalyx gyrans
Synonym:Desmodium gyrans
Synonym:Desmodium motorium
Synonym:Hedysarum gyrans
Synonym:Meibomia gyrans





Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

La Habra, California

San Leandro, California

Fountain, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 6, 2017, TheOrchidteer from San Leandro, CA wrote:

My telegraph plants sprung up within two weeks and are now growing strong and fast, they are still a little short but seem to be doing well in bright sun as well as moist soil. I am very pleased with the results!


On Jan 10, 2016, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is fun from seed to grow small leaflets can move which is fun but I discovered my plants stop doing that after I did stem cuttings of the plants.

I am wondering if anyone of you have the same situation?


On Jun 23, 2007, Janina5309 from Calgary,
Canada wrote:

My telegraph plant isn't doing so well. It's leaves are yellowed (veins still green) and the leaf edges are browned. New growth starts out normal and then turns out the same as the rest of the leaves. I took it out of bright light and into filtered bright light. I also tried not fertilizing it for a month. I always keep the soil moist and nothing seems to work.


On Mar 17, 2005, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant is truly wonderful!
We purchased 20 seeds and had 100% germination. The plants really do 'dance' in their own way.

Has a very airy look to it with delicate stems. Does very well as a unique houseplant. Definately worth growing.


On Feb 26, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The small leaves are sensitive to sunshine, warmth, sound and touch and they will move with jerky motions even with the slightest vibration. The species name is derived from the word "gyration" and the common name "Telegraph Plant" refers to the movement of the leaves as though they are sending messages. Charles Darwin studied this plant for many years as have others.