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Highlands Center for Natural History - SS

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Desmodium neomexicanum - New Mexico ticktrefoil

Synonyms: Meibomia neomexicana
Other Common Names: tick clover, New Mexico tickclover, (Spanish: hierbita del amor)
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Fabaceae

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Highlands Center for Natural History
Plant - summer
Highlands Center for Natural History
Highlands Center for Natural History
Highlands Center for Natural History
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Annual   Similar Species: Desmodium rosei
General Desc: Stems grow erect or curve upward. Stems are solid and sparsely to densely covered with curved hairs or prickles.
Identification notes: Fruit pods of 2 - 5 rounded segments and usually contorted unlike D. rosei. The terminal segment is often hairless and not contorted.
Height: 8 inches


Habitat Description: Found on grassy slopes and mesas.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 3500 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Pink to Purple     Shape: Irregular in elongated clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Aug - Sep
Description: Bracts very small or absent. Flowers are bilaterally symetrical in one plain. The calyx is 2-lipped or 2-lobed and hairy. Petals are separate and clawed. Corolla is butterfly-like and ovoid.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Compound     Leaf Shape: Narrow     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: Y
Leaf Description: Lower leaves are often trifoliolate with leaflets that are long and narrow. The upper leaves are also longer than wide but may have only one leaflet. Leaflets are opposite.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Brown   
Fruit Type: Pod
Fruit Notes: Fruits appear as 2 to 5 rounded segments each no more than 1/8 of an inch long. Drier pods appear contorted. The terminal segment is often hairless and not contorted. The other segments are uniformily hooked and hairless. Color from green to brown.
Seed Notes: Seed surface is smooth. Seeds are olive, brown, or black.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 3.1  
Last Updated: June 15, 2013  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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