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Nakedflower Ticktrefoil, Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil, Naked-stemmed Tick Clover - Desmodium nudiflorum


Family: Fabaceae - Pea family Genus Common Name: Ticktrefoil Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Desmodium nudiflorum - Nakedflower Ticktrefoil, Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil, Naked-stemmed Tick Clover. The USDA Plants Database lists 75 US species in the Desmodium (Ticktrefoil) genus, although specific occurrence information seems to be unavailable for many of the species, so the presence of all of them is doubtful. At least one species is found in 41 states, with the far west missing out. Most of us are probably more familiar with the little sticky seeds that fasten themselves to our clothing than with the flowers, but these members of the Pea family do have attractive blossoms. Nakedflower Ticktrefoil is found in 34 states, and in much of eastern Canada.

Found in:
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

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Desmodium nudiflorum

Distribution of Desmodium nudiflorum in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-June-17Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The Desmodium nudiflorum flower is quite small and is a pale pinkish-purple. It is very identifiable as a member of the pea family by its shape.
Desmodium nudiflorum

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-June-17Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The flowers are in a loose raceme at the end of the leafless (naked) scape, from when comes the “Nakedflower” part of the common name.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Desmodium nudiflorum

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The Desmodium nudiflorum flower is quite small and is a pale pinkish-purple. It is very identifiable as a member of the pea family by its shape.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Desmodium nudiflorum

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves are trifoliate, each about 3 inches long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Desmodium nudiflorum

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-October-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
This is the only 5-foliate Desmodium nudiflorum leaf that I’ve seen. They are normally trifoliate.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Desmodium nudiflorum

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-October-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Nakedflower Ticktrefoil has 4 to 7 trifoliate leaves around the end of a stem that is usually about 12 inches tall. The flowers (or in this case, the seeds) are on a separate, leafless stem that is up to 3 feet long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Desmodium nudiflorum

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-01Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The seeds of ticktrefoils may be better known than the blossoms, since they have a tendency to “stick with you.”
Click on the photo for a larger image
Desmodium nudiflorum

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer