Desmodium paniculatum (L.) DC.

panicled tick-trefoil

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

As in other tick-trefoils (Desmodium), the seedpods (loments) of panickled tick-trefoil cling obstinately to clothing. The undersides of the leaflets may also be somewhat clingy to fabric, like weak velcro.

Habitat

Forest edges, forests, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
Leaf type
the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are five petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
Fusion of petals
  • the petals are fused into a corolla tube
  • the petals are separate
Stamen number
10
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    • NA
    • the carpels are not fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary and a hypanthium
    Flower length
    6–8 mm
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Fused stamen clusters
    there are two clusters of fused stamens
    Fusion of petals
    • the petals are fused into a corolla tube
    • the petals are separate
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has hairs entirely without glands
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence length
    100–400 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Length of flower stalk
    4–11 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    1
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are five petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    NA
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows abruptly at the base
    Petal folds or pleats
    • the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    • the petals of the flower have folds or plaits on them
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal length
    6–8 mm
    Petal number
    5
    Petal shape
    • the petal outline is linear (extremely narrow, thread-like)
    • the petal outline is oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends)
    • the petal outline is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal color
    • green to brown
    • pink to red
    • yellow
    Sepal length
    2.5–3.5 mm
    Sepal number
    5
    Sepal relative length
    the sepal lobes are longer than the fused portion
    Sepal uniformity
    one or more of the sepals is much narrower or shorter than the others
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    NA
    Stamen morphology
    the stamens within each cycle are the same
    Stamen number
    10
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are attached to one another at or near their bases
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    • NA
    • the capsule splits by two main valves, teeth or pores
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is at least somewhat flattened
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    • the fruit is flat or strongly compressed
    • the fruit is obloid (longer than wide and with rounded ends)
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a schizocarp (when dry it splits into sections, each holding one or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    3.5–4.5 mm
    Hair type on fruit
    the hairs on the fruits are simple (not branched), don’t have glands, and are not woolly
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits have hairs on them
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    5–7.5 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    the mericarp is roughly triangular on the lower margin
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit has a stipe
    Ovary stipe length
    2.5–3.5 mm
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has parietal placentation, where ovules develop on the wall or slight outgrowths of the wall forming broken partitions within a compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    the fruit is flattened perpendicular to the commissure
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    3–6
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole edges
    NA
    Bracteole length
    0 mm
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteole shape
    NA
    Bracteoles
    there are no bracteoles on the plant
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    20–100 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    3–10
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    5–15 mm
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip (it may or may not have secondary veins)
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    the hairs are flat against the leaf surface, mostly pointing towards the leaf tip
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    15–50 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaflet number
    3
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    the pinnately compound leaves have a terminal leaflet (and usually have an odd number of leaflets per axis)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    Stipels
    the petiolules have stipels at their bases
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule length
    2–4 mm
    Stipule shape
    the stipules are another shape than the choices given
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • woodlands
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    the hairs point mostly upwards to outwards
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    • the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    • no
    • yes
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    60–120 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    the hairs on the stem are distributed more of less uniformly
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem does not feel rough
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Occurs only in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: UPL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Vermont
uncommon (S-rank: S3)

var. paniculatum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Desmodium perplexum:
central leaflet of leaf oblong to broad-ovate, mostly 1.5-4 times as long as wide, and 15-30 mm wide (vs.D. paniculatum, with the central leaflet of leaf narrow-lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, mostly 4-10 times as long as wide and mostly 5-15 mm wide).

Synonyms

  • Hedysarum paniculatum L.
  • Meibomia paniculata (L.) Kuntze

Family

Fabaceae

Genus

Desmodium

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

8.  Desmodium paniculatum (L.) DC. N

panicled tick-trefoil. Hedysarum paniculatum L.; Meibomia paniculata (L.) Kuntze • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Dry-mesic forests and woodlands, forest borders. Infrequent plants show a broader terminal leaflet (up to 25 mm wide) that can cause confusion with Desmodium glabellum and D. perplexum. Desmodium paniculatum usually shows glabrous to glabrate midstems, usually lacks minute uncinate hairs on the adaxial leaflet surfaces, and usually has sparse, very short (shorter than 0.5 mm), appressed hairs on the abaxial leaflet surfaces. Desmodium glabellum and D. perplexum, on the other hand have. pilose and/or uncinate-pubescent midstems, usually have minutely uncinate adaxial leaflet surfaces, and usually have more evident, slightly longer (0.5 mm long or longer), spreading to ascending hairs on the abaxial leaflet surfaces.

8×10. Desmodium paniculatum × Desmodium rotundifolium Desmodium ×‌humifusum (Muhl. ex Bigelow) Beck is a very rare hybrid tick-trefoil in New England known from CT, MA. This plant is similar to D. rotundifolium in its prostrate habit and relatively broad terminal leaflets. Desmodium ×‌humifusum has stipules 4–8 mm long that are deltate-ovate to subulate, not broadly clasping the stem, and usually caducous, the terminal leaflet is ovate to rhombic and mostly 1.6–1.9 times as long as wide, and the fruiting pedicels are 7–9 mm long. Desmodium rotundifolium, on the other hand, has stipules 5–12 mm long that are ovate, broadly and inequilaterally clasping the stem, and persistent, the terminal leaflet is broad-ovate to suborbicular and mostly 0.8–1.2 times as long as wide [Fig. 638], and the pedicels are (5–) 10–15 mm long. See Raveill (2002) for evidence of a hybrid origin for this nothospecies.