Desmodium glabrum

Desmodium glabrum (Mill.) DC

Common Names: Velvety Tick Trefoil

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: Desmodium glabrum is a perennial herb becoming woody at its base with age becoming somewhat shrub like to 3 meters in height. All vegetation is pubescent.  The trifoliate leaves are arranged alternately and are to 4 cm in length. The leaflets are elliptic to rounded, the leaflet apex obtuse, with an entire (sometimes crenulate) margin. At the base of each leaflet there are two ovate/triangular stipules.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal and axillary racemes or panicles. The calyx has 5 fused, pubescent sepals.  The corolla has 5 pink/purple petals.  The lower 2 petals are fused into a keel and the upper is enlarged to form a standard. The superior ovary has a single locule.  The fruit is a legume at maturity that is highly constricted between the ovules and is considered a loment. Only the terminal ovule is fertile and each loment produces a single terminal seed. As the fruit matures the loment twists.

Habitat: Desmodium glabrum grows in Human Altered environments (yards and abandoned fields) and the edges of Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations (coppice).

Distribution: Desmodium glabrum occurs throughout the island groupings within the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the Caribbean region, Central and South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Desmodium glabrum is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.