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Beggars Lice Desmodium

Other Common Name(s):

Description

Desmodium spp., commonly known as Beggars lice is a woody trailing legume in the Fabaceae family.  There are dozens of species and there is indecision in the taxonomic world in defining the genus.  This plant can be used as a living mulch or green manure as they are able to improve soil fertility via nitrogen fixation.   They can also be used as livestock fodder.   The hairy seedpods readily cling to fur and clothing so both animals and humans unwittingly spread their seeds.  They germinate readily and can become weedy.

This herb produces a triangular seed that sticks like a tick.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Late summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:    They make a quality food source for bobwhite, turkey, grouse, and deer.  It is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  This plant is a host plant for the Silver-spotted Skipper, Hoary Edge, Northern Cloudywing, Southern Cloudywing, Gray Hairstreak, and Eastern tailed-blue butterflies.  In the winter, its seeds serve as a food source for songbirds, quail, and small mammals. The flowers are attractive to some pollinators.

 

 

Cultivars:
Tags:
#butterflies#songbirds#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#host plant#small mammals#food source#low flammability#fire resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#butterflies#songbirds#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#weedy#host plant#small mammals#food source#low flammability#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Desmodium
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds