Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Panicled Tick Trefoil Desmodium paniculatum


enlarge +

Panicled Tick Trefoil
credit: Show_ryu/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Panicled-leaf Tick Trefoil

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description The showy purple flowers appear in late summer and grow arranged on a stem maturing from the bottom upwards.
Habit: native perennnial herb; variable.
Height: 24-42 in (0.6-1.1 m)
Leaf: alternate, trifoliate, held horizontally; leaflets elliptic to oblong, pointed, to 3.5 in (9 cm) long and 0.75 in (2 cm) wide.
Flower: purple to pink, sweet pea-like, 0.25 in (6 mm) long; in loose terminal or axillary cluster to 12 in (30 cm) tall or more.
Fruit: jointed pods, 0.5-1.5 in (12-38 mm) long; with 2-6 segments, each rounded on bottom edge, flatter on top edge, covered with hooked, clingy hair.

Flower July to August.

Habitat Fields, forest edges, thickets, savannas, prairies, ravines, ridges, roadsides, disturbed sites; also cultivated for livestock forage.

Range Native to eastern and central North America, from Quebec south to Florida, west to Texas, north to Nebraska, east to Indiana, north to Ontario.

Discussion Two varieties are proposed. The genus Desmodium originates from Greek meaning "long branch or chain," probably from the shape and attachment of the seedpods. The Houma Indians of Louisiana used an infusion of the roots in whiskey to treat weakness and cramps.