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Showy Tick Trefoil

Common Name: Showy Tick Trefoil

Latin Name: Desmodium canadense

[Pronounced: "dezz-MODE-ee-um can-ah-DEN-see"]

Type of Plant: Forb


Identification Helps: Plants to 4 or 5 ft, with pink flowers and bean-like leaves or three leaflets. Fruits are chains of 3 to 5 segmented pods, so-called "stick-tights" that adhere to clothing.


There are a number of other Desmodium species on Ohio prairies, but none are so common or so tall.


Preferred Growing Conditions in the Wild: Showy Tick Trefoil grows in a variety of prairie soils, from dry to moist conditions. The species is more often found on disturbed prairies, and often in non-prairie old field habitats.


Preferred Soils: The species grows in a variety of soil textures and moisture contents.


Seasons of Growth and Bloom: This forb blooms from July through October.


Natural Distribution in Ohio: Showy tick trefoil grows naturally across most of Ohio.


Description and General Information: Showy tick trefoil is a prominent prairie legume, and as such, helps create fixed nitrogen in prairie soils.