Showy tick trefoil

Desmodium canadense (L.) DC

Family: Fabaceae (legume)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Late,
    • Mid-Season,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
    • Partial,
  • Region:
    • Northern Lower Peninsula,
    • Southern Lower Peninsula,
    • Upper Peninsula
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Medium,
  • Height:
    • 3ft

Natural enemies attracted

Mildly attractive: Thomisidae and Chalcidoidea

Pollinators attracted

Mildly attractive: bees including sweat bees and bumble bees.

Pests attracted

Highly attractive: Japanese beetles.

Moderately attractive: aphids and thrips.

Mildly attractive: lygus bugs, leafhoppers and leaf beetles

Plant notes

Vivid-pink flower spikes are borne at the end of branches. Plants filled in during the third year of growth. Plants bloomed throughout August. This species was one of the least attractive to natural enemies in the mid-season, with half as many natural enemies as in the grass control.


Showy tick trefoil grows in full to partial sun, and mid-range soil moisture (neither very wet nor very dry). It naturally occurs in open ground in moist to dry sandy conditions.

Cultivation and management

This plant can be grown from seed (flowers in third year) or plug material (flowers in second year). Flowers and leaves were decimated by Japanese beetle in both years of the study.