Desmodium glabellum

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Common Names: ticktrefoil [1], smooth beggarlice [2]

Desmodium glabellum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicots
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Desmodium
Species: D. glabellum
Binomial name
Desmodium glabellum
Natural range of Desmodium glabellum from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonym: D. paniculatum, D. paniculatum var. dillenii (Darlington)

Variety: Meibomia paniculata (Linnaeus), Meibomia pubens (Torrey & A. Gray)


D. glabellum is a perennial forb/herb of the Fabaceae family native to North America. [1]


The native distribution of D. glabellum is along hte United States east coast, west to Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. [1]



The ideal habitat for D. glabellum is with partial sun and dry conditions. Soil that has a rocky texture is ideal. Savannas, rocky upland forests, edges of more wooded areas, thickets and limestone glades are common regions for D. glabellum to be found. [1]


D. glabellum has been observed to flower between August and October, with peak inflorescence in September. [3]

Seed dispersal

D. glabellum is a member of the pea family. It's pea pods or seeds have tiny hooked hairs on the shell that make them ideal for sticking to passing fur bearing animals for dispersal.[1] This species is thought to be dispersed by translocation on animal fur or feathers. [4]

Seed bank and germination

Firm seedbed is required for germination to be successful.[1]


Bees are the primary pollinator for D. glabellum.[1]

Use by animals

Seeds from D. glabellum are eaten by birds, rodents, wild turkey, rabbits, groundhogs, and many livestocks. [3]

Diseases and parasites

White mold can occur on D. glabellum. Adult Japanese beetles will feed on the plant. [1]

Conservation and Management

D. glabellum has been placed on the special concern list for the state of Connecticut. [1]

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 USDA Plant Database
  2. Davis, J., J. Eric, et al. (2002). "Vascular flora of Piedmont Prairies: Evidence from several prairie remnants." Castanea 67(1): 1-12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 21 MAY 2018
  4. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.