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Desmodium nudiflorum (Nakedflower ticktrefoil)
Brundage, Stephanie

Desmodium nudiflorum

Desmodium nudiflorum (L.) DC.

Nakedflower Ticktrefoil

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Meibomia nudiflora

USDA Symbol: DENU4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Perennial bearing one to three clusters of long-petiolate trifoliate leaves on an upright to lax stem to about 12 inches in length. An upright leafless scape emerges near the base of the stem and ascend to about 3 feet in height and bears a raceme of pale pink or lavender flowers in mid- to late-summer. Fruits are loments covered in short, hook-shaped hairs which aid in seed dispersal by clinging to the hair of passing animals and also human clothing.

This species' flowers are sweetly fragrant and are visited by many bees and other nectarivorous insects. It is a nitrogen-fixing species through symbiosis with soil-borne nodulating rhizobia. This, and other species of Desmodium produce insect repellant antixenotic allomones. It also utilizes exozoochory, a propagule dispersal syndrome, utilizing the fur of passing animals to spread its seeds.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Trifoliate
Leaf Shape: Deltoid , Oval , Ovate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Legume , Loment
Size Notes: Two to four feet in height.
Leaf: Leaves are deltoid in shape overall with three trifoliate leaves arranged at the end of the stem. Leaflets are lanceolate-ovate to oval in shape.
Flower: Pale pink pea-flowers.
Fruit: Fruit a 1-4 (usually 2-3) seeded loment with hooked hairs.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Flowers usually pale pink or lavender in color.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: The Mississippi River Valley and across the eastern US southern Ontario, Canada.
Native Habitat: Mature, open, deciduous mesic woodlands, on rich loamy or sandy soils.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, gravelly or loamy soil with high organic content.
Conditions Comments: Prefers open woodlands in mature hardwood forests.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Desmodium nudiflorum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Desmodium nudiflorum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Desmodium nudiflorum


Record Modified: 2018-05-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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