Illinois Tick-clover

Illinois Tick-Clover
Illinois Tick-clover
 David Welfelt

Illinois Tick-clover
Desmodium illinoense


Family Bean
Longevity Perennial
Height 3 - 5 feet

Bloom Period

March April May June July August September October
  • Description:  Stems are upright and glandular hairy. Leaves have three lance-shaped leaflets with undersides of hooked hairs and a conspicuous network of veins. Flowers are pea-shaped, pink fading to purple and borne on a tall stalk above the leaves.
  • Comments: The nearly round, flat, brown seed pods are tick-size and have hooked hairs that cling to clothing or fur, giving the plant the name “tick-clover.” The “ticks” pictured are Hoary Tick-clover found in open woods and prairies. There are six similar species of tick-clover common in the Flint Hills. The seeds are food for upland game birds, and the plants are eaten by livestock. The deep roots add nitrogen to the soil. Illinois Tick-clover is found in upland prairies in the eastern half of Kansas.

Illinois Tick-clover seeds
 Nancy Goulden

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The Meadow
Text: Iralee Barnard
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