Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tick Trefoil, Beggar-lice, Beggar-ticks, Sticktights
Desmodium canadense

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Desmodium (des-MOH-dee-um) (Info)
Species: canadense (ka-na-DEN-see) (Info)

Synonym:Hedysarum canadense

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Ohmeanjean On Apr 27, 2012, Ohmeanjean from Buckingham, FL wrote:

Did not plant.PLEASE how do I get rid of them?
They are taking over my yard which has Floratan + what ever the storms has brought us. To many to dig up. Please help with any ideas. Sylvia

Negative treeripe On Oct 26, 2011, treeripe from Mount Pleasant, SC wrote:

Beggar lice, as we call this plant, is simply a noxious weed that grows vigourously and will shade almost everything under it's 9'+ canopy! The seed are easily spread, especially on your clothing, where raw cotton can be used to remove them. While they can be controlled with herbicides, the most effective ones are very difficult to use in a garden environment. Maybe in a very confined space they can be controlled, but not in my .5 acre garden. I would no more plant this weed for it's simple little blueish flower than I would use kudzoo for ground cover!

Neutral Gradinara On Oct 13, 2009, Gradinara from Greenville, SC wrote:

This plant also grows in the Upstate of SC. I have several specimens of it in my gardens. Most, I've tried to get rid of, however I've left one in my newest mini flower garden on a trial basis. The flowers are pretty, however the seeds are very annoying. The jury's still out on whether I'll let it stay or not!

Positive bluespiral On Aug 28, 2006, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Ditto to Melody's note above. We often encounter the flowers on late summer walks on local trails along path edges both in shaded woods and along sunny meadow paths mown by a local horsemen's organization. So, it's a tough but gracefully airy plant with flowers floating on thin wands. It must be pretty deer resistant to flourish among so many deer, here, too.

From the way it grows, I think it would make a great "jack-in-the-box" plant, coming up through maidenhair ferns and edged in front with wild violets. Adding a few of the shade tolerant Aster divaricata in front to extend the season, along with a small "grove" of native deciduous azaleas in back that also flourish around here - Azalea prinophylla (syn. Rhododendron nudiflorum 'rosea') - would make this a 4-season corner of a "wild" garden (If deer are a problem, perhaps substitute mountain laurel which loves the northwest side of local hills).

Positive melody On Aug 28, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I know that some folks don't care for this plant, but it is an attractive little weed that adds pretty color in theLate Summer/ Fall when not much is blooming.

The fuzzy little seed pods stick to socks, clothing and animal fur...sometimes in great numbers.

Songbirds use the seeds for a food source.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chicago, Illinois
Benton, Kentucky
Hi Hat, Kentucky
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Morehead, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baltimore, Maryland
Cary, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Greenville, South Carolina
Johnston, South Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Leesburg, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia

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