Scientific Name: Desmodium tortuosum

Common Name: Florida beggarweed

Other Common Names: dixie ticktrefoil; beggar lice; beggar tick; stick-tight

Synonyms: Desmodium annuum; Desmodium purpureum; Meibomia purpurea; Meibomia tortuosa; Desmodium tortuosum

Leaves: 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.

Identifying Characteristics: 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.

Seed Fruit: 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.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Fabaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: opposite; alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: purple; blue; pink

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody; woody bush or tree

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: trifoliate; simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Flower diameter: dime; pencil

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry; disymetry

  • Root structure: taproot

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf