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Desmodium canadense

Desmodium canadense (L.) DC.

Meibomia canadensis (L.) Kuntze

Showy Tick Trefoil

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)
GenusDesmodiumFromthe Greek desmos, “bond, fetter, halter, or chain”
Speciescanadense“Of or from Canada”

About plant names...

The “tick” in showy tick trefoil refers to this plant’s seed pods, which have an uncanny knack for leaping onto clothing and staying there. These plants are North American natives.

Identification: Plants are up to 3' (91 cm) tall, usually erect, sometimes canted at angles or lying along the ground. Stems are covered with fine white hairs, and have long vertical striations. Leaves are roughly oval in shape, and 1½-3½" (3.8-8.9 cm) long × ½-1¾" (1.3-4.6 cm) in size. They often occur in groups of three. Flowerheads are panicles up to 8" (20 cm) long, with pink flowers each about ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) long. Each flower consists of an upward-pointing petal and a downward-pointing pouch-shaped petal. Seedpods loosely resemble peas, and are up to 2½" (6.3 cm) long, consisting of several light green segments, each shaped like the letter ‘D’. The pods have velcro-like hairs that adhere to passing animals and amateur botanists.

Online References:

Desmodium canadense at the Island Creek Elementary School's Study of Northern Virginia Ecology

Desmodium canadense at Illinois Wildflowers

Desmodium canadense on Missouriplants.com

Desmodium canadense at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Desmodium canadense on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Desmodium canadense at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Desmodium canadense on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Desmodium canadense on DiversityOfLife.org

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/11/2012 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4½" (15 × 11 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

Hitchhiking seedpods. · 8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 8.2 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/14/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

7/29/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/14/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 5" (17 × 13 cm)

Desmodium canadense description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 14 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

9/4/2017 · Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, Ayer, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.1 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/13/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

7/29/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

Leaf damage caused by locust digitate leaf miner (Parectopa robiniella) · 9/24/2012 · Squanacook River Wildlife Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 5 × 4" (13 × 10 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

8/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

7/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

7/29/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

7/29/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil)

9/4/2017 · Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, Ayer, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Range:

About this map...