Showy Tick Trefoil, Desmodium canadense

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Showy Tick Trefoil

Showy Tick Trefoil (Desmodium canadense) is a member of the Bean family (Fabaceae) whose purple, pea-like flowers are easily spotted in the sea of green prairie vegetation.  The flowers of Showy Tick Trefoil are arranged on an upright flowering stalk and the leaves consist of three narrow leaflets.  This species grows to be 3 feet tall and is pollinated primarily by bees.  Showy Tick Trefoil is a favorite source of food for herbivorous mammals, especially deer.  This species is named for its tick-sized seeds that are covered in small hooked hairs.  These hooked hairs latch onto the fur (or clothing) of passing mammals that spread the seeds.  Showy Tick Trefoil typically blooms from mid- to late summer and is most abundant in areas that have been recently burned.

Photo:

Jared Beck
26 July 2012