Desmodium sessilifolium

no petioled beggars-ticks, sessileleaf ticktrefoil, sessileleaf tickclover, sessile tickclover


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Type


Growth Form


Flower Color

pink, purple, white

Flower Month

June - September

Height (meters)

0.6 - 1.8

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

When sterile, Desmodiums may be confused with Lespedezas. The two can be distinguished by the presence of a pair of stipules at the base of the terminal leaflet and a single stipules at the base of the lateral leaflets in Desmodium, while Lespedexa has no stipules (Grelen and Hughes 1984).

Cultural Information

The seed is easily collected from socks and pants at the end of a summer walk through prairie. Seed germination improves with scarification, cold/dry stratification, and innoculation at planting time (Steffen 1997).

Animal Use

Desirable to cattle as forage. The following information is for genus Desmodium: Animals that eat its seeds: Bobwhite quail, Wild turkey. Animals that eat the plant: White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951). It is palatable, nutritious, and readily eaten by all classes of livestock.

Natural History

All members of this genus are called "pain de pain pain" by the Acadians of south Louisiana. The common name "beggars-ticks" refers to the way the legumes attach themselves, with Velcro-like surfaces, to animals and humans. This species is a deep rooted perennial that grows in mid and tallgrass prairie throughout the central and eastern parts of the United States. It is adapted to many soil types but is most often found on loam to sandy loam soils where it is associated with open stands of trees (Philips Petroleum Company 1955). It is palatable and nutritious and is eaten by all classes of livestock. It is considered a decreaser under continuous grazing but is not abundant enough to be an indicator of range condition.


Open woods and borders, prairie hillsides and ravines, dunes, and sandy stream valleys, roadsides.