Common Stylo (Stylosanthes guianensis (Aublet) Sw.) is a tropical legume shrub widely grown for forage throughout the tropics and subtropics.
Stylo is a short-lived, erect or semi-erect perennial legume that can reach a height of 1-1.5 m. Stylo has a strong taproot that is nodulated. The stems are many-branched and may be woody at the base. Stylo does not twin, unlike other legumes. Stylo is a leafy species that remains green under dry conditions. The leaves are trifoliolate with elliptical to lanceolate leaflets, 0.5-45 mm long x 20 mm broad. The inflorescence is a densely flowered spike, with up to 40 flowers/head. Flowers are yellow to orange with black or red stripes. The fruit is a one-seeded pod, 2-3 mm long x 1.5-2.5 mm wide. The seed are very small, pale brown or purple in colour. There are 7 varieties of stylo, notably var. guianensis (common stylo) and var. intermedia (fine stem stylo). Fine stem stylo has finer and shorter stems than the common stylo (1-2 mm in diameter and only 30 cm in height). Its inflorescence is a denser cluster and the seeds are yellowish brown.