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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Desmodium canadense (L.) DC.
Showy tick trefoil
Synonym(s): Meibomia canadensis
USDA Symbol: DECA7
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Erect, bushy, hairy plant with crowded, elongated terminal clusters of pink or rose-purple pea-like flowers. Showy tick-trefoil is a slender-stemmed, often bushy perennial, 2-6 ft. high. Hundreds of rose-colored, pea-like flowers occur in dense, nodding clusters at the tops of the stems. Velvety hair covers the stems and three-parted, compound leaves. Seedpods cling to animal fur or clothing.
The most showy of the Tick Trefoils is one of some two dozen species distinguished by their leaf and fruit shape. The distinctively jointed fruits, known as loments, break into 1-seeded segments, that stick to clothes and animal fur, thus facilitating seed dispersal.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Flower:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
, WV Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
N.S. to s. Sask., s. to MD, WV, TN, LA
& OK Native Habitat:
Open woods; rocky or sandy prairies; stream banks; roadsides; waste places
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Moist soils. Indifferent to soil acidity.
Conditions Comments: Highly adaptable, this plant can take over a small garden.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Hummingbirds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Eastern Tailed Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper, Hoary Edge.
PropagationDescription: Sow untreated, scarified or cold-moist stratified seed in the spring.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: For cold-moist stratification, mix seeds with equal amounts of moist sand and refrigerate in sealed bag 10 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Ohio Prairie Nursery
- Hiram, OHAmerican Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Delaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff