Desmodium glutinosum (Pointed-leaf Tick-trefoil)
|Also known as:||Large-flower tickclover|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; woods, thickets|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 4 feet|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Stalked flowers are scattered on spike-like racemes branching off the top of the stem. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch long and wide, with a round upper lobe and 3 narrow lower lobes, the middle one folded lengthwise. Hugging the inside of the upper lobe are a long curving white style and yellow-tipped stamens. Flower color is pink, occasionally white. The calyx and flower stalk are typically red and sparsely glandular hairy.
Leaves and stem:
Several long-stemmed compound leaves, grouped in 3s, are just below the flower clusters, alternately attached but nearly whorled. Leaflets are up to 5 inches long, 3½ inches wide, sparsely hairy, oval to teardrop shaped with a sharply pointed tip. The end leaf is largest and much broader than the side leaflets. Stems are erect to ascending, unbranched, may be sparsely covered in spreading hairs, and somewhat sticky.
Fruit is a flat pod divided into 1 to 4 segments, each straight to concave on the upper edge and well rounded on the lower, and each containing 1 seed. The pod is covered in minute hooked hairs so it sticks to almost anything that passes by.
Pointed-leaf Tick-trefoil and American Lopseed (Phryma leptostachya) both have pink spike-like racemes and bloom at the same time in about the same habitat, sometimes next to each other. American Lopseed has coarsely toothed, simple leaves oppositely attached, the upper lobe of the flowers is narrow, turned up, and the fruit is a seed than points down and hugs the stem. Some references have renamed Desmodium glutinosum to Hylodesmum glutinosum; this name is not currently recognized in Minnesota but may well be in the future.
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- Pointed-leaf Tick-trefoil plant
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County.
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