Desmodium canadense, also known as Showy Tick Trefoil, is a native perennial legume that grows to about 3′ tall.
The most important visitors of the flowers are long-tongued bees, including bumblebees. Japanese beetles relish the flowering stems, which can weaken this plant enough to interfere with the formation of seedpods. This plant is highly edible to various mammalian herbivores, including deer, rabbits, and groundhogs. Some upland gamebirds and small rodents eat the seeds, including the Bobwhite Quail, Wild Turkey, White-Footed Mouse, and Woodland Deer Mouse. The seedpods can cling to the fur of mammals, causing this plant to spread into new areas.
Highly palatable to livestock.
Showy Tick Trefoil prefers full or partial sun, and moist to mesic conditions. A loamy soil with some organic matter is perfectly fine. This plant increases the nitrogen content of the soil by means of root nodules. Showy Tick Trefoil is more attractive when it occurs in colonies, rather than as isolated plants.
Habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, moist meadows along rivers, borders of lakes, thickets, limestone glades, and areas along railroads where prairie remnants occur.