Scientific NameDesmodium tortuosum
Other Common Names:
dixie ticktrefoil; beggar lice; beggar tick; stick-tight
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Alternate, consisting of 3 elliptic to oblong leaflets in upper leaves (trifoliate), perhaps only 1 leaflet in the lower leaves. Leaves occur on petioles and stipules occur where the petiole meets the stem. Each leaflet 3-4 inches long, ovate to lance-shaped.
Summer annual, reaching 3-9 feet in height. Leaves and stems covered with short, stiff hairs that often stick to clothing. Distinctive segmented fruit that sticks to clothing, hairy leaves and stems, and presence of stipules are all features that aide in the identification of this weed.
Flower Seed Head
Occur near the top of plants as racemes or branched panicles. Petals are bluish-purple to purple, 5-7 mm long.
A loment of 2-7 oval to circular segments, each 3-5 mm long, 3-4 mm broad. Each segment encloses a seed and is densely covered with short, stiff hairs that stick to clothing. Cotyledons round to oval with smooth margins, 3-5 mm wide, 5-8 mm long.
upright and nonwoody,
woody bush or tree
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval