Tom's Blog

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Showy tick trefoil at its peak

The topic today is showy tick trefoil, Desmodium canadense, a handsome species of prairies and open savannasSince we have dealt with several native prairie/savanna species that are rhizomatous and invasive, we now become worried whenever we see large patches of any species, even one considered desirable.  Although according to the literature this species is not rhizomatous (it apparently has a large tap root), in our hands it sometimes forms large patches. Apparently, these patches are formed as a result of the prolific formation of seeds that cling firmly to clothing, fur, or skin. According to Dave's Garden: "Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season."

We first planted this species in Toby's Prairie in 1998 (16 years ago), and it has been planted in all the new prairies we have planted since then. The seeds were local, collected from scattered plants along County F. It has also been planted in the savannas as these have been restored. As the years have gone by, it has sorted itself out, and is now found mainly in wetter areas. The large patch shown on the photo below is present in an area of the Pocket Prairie which receives drainage from the ravine. We also have a large patch in the (wetter) former aspen zone at the south side of Toby's Prairie.

At one time we collected seeds from our planting to distribute at other areas of the Conservancy, but we no longer do this, as it seems to get around quite well on its own.


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