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Desmodium canadense (L.) DC.
Showy Tick Trefoil
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: CT , DE , IA , IL , IN , KS , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. to s. Sask., s. to MD, WV, TN, LA, OK, and n. TX
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.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Learn more at BAMONA
Hoary Edge |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Sow untreated, scarified or cold-moist stratified seed in the spring.
Seed Treatment: For cold-moist stratification, mix seeds with equal amounts of moist sand and refrigerate in sealed bag 10 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Desmodium canadense in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Desmodium canadense in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Desmodium canadense
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-04-06
Research By: TWC Staff