Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sessileleaf Tick-trefoil - Desmodium sessilifolium   (Torrey) Torrey & A. Gray
Members of Fabaceae:
Members of Desmodium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
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Author(Torrey) Torrey & A. Gray
DistributionFormerly reported as a specimen from Cabarrus County and several other records from adjacent Mecklenburg County. As there are scattered records for northern VA and several in SC, includung York County, just over the NC state line, there is hope that additional records can be forthcoming in the state.

This is primarily a Midwestern species, being commonly found from southern MI and eastern KS south to LA and central TX. There are widely scattered records east to MA and northern FL, but most eastern states have only a few county records.
AbundanceFormerly very rare in the southern Piedmont, but now historical. It is listed as State Special Concern - Historical.
HabitatThis is a species of dry soil of open woods and edges, apparently (at least in NC) in somewhat high pH soil, though this is speculation. If it were a species of acidic soils, which are abundant across the state, it should have been (or should be) much more widely reported and collected.
PhenologyBlooms in July and August, and fruits from September to October.
IdentificationThough two species of Desmodium in the state's Coastal Plain -- D. strictum and D. tenuifolium -- can look rather similar, this is the only Piedmont species with very narrow, parallel-sided leaflets. The erect stem, which is strongly hirsute and with some uncinate hairs, is normally unbranched, and grows to 2.5-3 feet high. The leaves are almost sessile, with the petiole barely 1/10-inch long; the 3 leaflets are mostly linear to very narrowly elliptic, being about 2-2.5 inches long but only about 2/5-inch wide. At the top of the stem is a narrow panicle of flowers reaching about 6-8 inches tall, with each pink flower only about 1/5-inch across. The pods have very few loments (segments), generally just 1-3. Sadly, several of the few sites where it was formerly found have now been developed, as they grew in the Charlotte metro area -- a bad place to be a rare plant!
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankSH
Global RankG5
State StatusSC-H
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken early July 1989 at roadside in Hammonton, NJ. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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