Native Plant of the Week: Pointed Leaved Tick Trefoil ~ Desmodium glutinosum

Pointed Leaved Tick Trefoil ~ Desmodium glutinosum

This perennial woodland native is in full bloom right now at some local parks. The tall 3.5 foot flower stalks are covered with dark pink to white pea-like flowers. The flowers open from the bottom upwards along the flower stalk.

This Tick Trefoil is tolerant of quite a bit of shade, although prefers woodland openings in partial sun. Found in both moist and dry sites in woodlands, more commonly at the bottom of slopes than upland.

The three parted leaves are very attractive and are densely bunched together below the tall flower stalks.

The seed pods are showy as well turning from a light green to brown. They are covered in tiny hooked hairs that allow them to be dispersed by animals (and humans on clothing) but they are large and easy to remove.

A grouping of this native would be very attractive in a shaded garden alongside other low to medium sized perennials. Seed and bare root plants are available from Prairie Moon Nursery.

Pointed Tick Trefoil is native to eastern North America. See map below.

Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.