Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Prostrate Tick-trefoil - Desmodium rotundifolium   de Candolle
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
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Authorde Candolle
DistributionThroughout the mountains and Piedmont, and essentially throughout the western and central Coastal Plain. Scare to locally absent near the coast, with no records for almost all counties that border the ocean.

This is a widespread species across the eastern U.S., ranging from NH and MO south to northern FL and eastern TX. Over this large range, it has been collected in the majority of counties.
AbundanceCommon over the mountains, Piedmont, and the western half of the Coastal Plain; infrequent to locally common in the central Coastal Plain, but rare to absent in the coastal region.
HabitatUnlike most Desmodium species in the state, this species is found in the shade or partial shade of upland to mesic woods and forests, favoring dry soil.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is possibly the easiest Desmodium to identify in the state, and most people have seen it frequently and can readily identify it. It has a trailing stem that can reach about 3 feet long, with dense hairs covering the stem. It is sparsely branched, with 3 completely distinctive rounded leaflets. Each leaflet averages about 2 inches across, is rotund (about the size of a silver dollar), and is densely hairy on both sides. At leaf nodes or at the end are scattered slender racemes, reaching about 6-9 inches tall, with scattered pink flowers that are fairly large for the genus, each about 2/5-inch long. Pods are not needed for identification, as the trailing, vine-like stem with 3 large and rounded leaflets cannot be confused. Even people who do not know or care much about identifying Desmodium species certainly know the name of this one, even if they call it "dollar-leaf".
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Roundleaf Tick-trefoil, Dollar-leaf
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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