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Showy Tick-Trefoil
Desmodium canadense

Native, adaptable, perennial legume about 3-6' tall, that is aggressive, self-sows and often forms clumps. Suited for perennial gardens because of its showy flowers that bloom over a long period. It is also good for woodland habitats and prairie restorations. This species should be a component in seeding mixtures for prairie restorations, especially with warm-season grasses.

USDA symbol: DECA7

General Information

Plant TypeForb
Height4 to 5 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun
Soil MoistureMedium
Bloom ColorPink
Showy Tick-Trefoil (Showy Tick-Trefoil<div><em class="small">Desmodium canadense</em></div>)
Photo credit: United States Department of Agriculture (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience8
Salt ToleranceLow
Stress ToleranceGeneral Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsJuly to August
Larval Host ofBees, Butterflies, Moths
Specific Pollinators HostedAchalarus lyciades, Grapholita fana, Megachile dakotensis, Thorybes bathyllus, Thorybes pylades
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Supports Specialists

Project Planning

Project TypeRestoration, Upland Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism5
Herbivore SensitivityMedium
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationShallow
Vegetative ReproductionAbsent


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Benton, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lincoln, Lyon, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands