Showy Tick Trefoil


Peganum from Henfield, England, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Showy Tick Trefoil is a native erect perennial forb growing from 3 to 5 feet high on leafy stems that branch at the inflorescence. The stem is green, taking on some reddish vertical color lines toward maturity, and has fine white hair. The plant is a perennial herb and grows in woods, prairies, and disturbed habitats such as roadsides, clearings and borders.

Showy Tick Trefoil grows from a taproot and prefers at least partial sun in richer soils with wet to moist to mesic conditions. Seeds can be planted in the fall or spring and produce vigorous seedlings.

Quick Growing Guide

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Botanical Name: Desmodium canadense

En français: Desmodie du Canada

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Sun / Shade:

Water: Dry to Medium, tolerates drought

Hardiness Zones:

How to Plant

Once established, this plant can be planted with groundcover or mixed in with taller varieties. It can be easily propagated from seed, rootstock, or stem cuttings (though rooting has been reported to be slow). If you are looking to grow multiple specimens, this is an ideal plant for a xeriscape. It is highly resistant to many soil pathogens and pests. It can be cut for ornamental purposes, though this may encourage the development of stem cankers. This plant is a good choice for hot, dry, or saline conditions. It is ideally suited to Northern or alpine climates. It is a low maintenance plant with few problems.

Maidenhair fern, hog peanut, wood anemone, spikenard, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and wild strawberry are all good companion plants.

The flowers can be dense on the spikes. Each has a stalk that also has reddish tones and short stiff hairs.

pink tick trefoil flowers
Pink tick trefoil flowers

Showy Tick Trefoil attracts Butterflies, is deer resistant, drought tolerant and makes great cut flowers.

Caring for Showy Tick Trefoil

As long as the soil has adequate moisture, seeds will germinate within a matter of weeks. If you choose to grow this plant from seed, it will take about a year for the plant to reach maturity.

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