(Plate CXVI)

Family

Pulse.

Colour

Purple.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Florida to Miss. and northward.

Time of Bloom

August.

Flowers: growing in terminal racemes on axillary branches. Calyx: five-cleft. Corolla: papilionaceous. Pods: with scalloped margins. Leaves: of three rounded, ovate leaflets. Stem: prostrate; pubescent.

When the Meibomias or Desmodiums, as they were formerly called, held their family council as to the best way for them to disperse their seeds, they decided upon a plan no doubt gratifying to themselves but just a little trying to humanity at large. It seems as though they had considered the question from their point of view alone. They then provided themselves with jointed pods that are covered with bristly hooks, and cleverly designed to fasten in the fleece of sheep, or hair of animals. In fact, they do not despise clothing of any description. In this way they secure a very wide distribution, and often fall upon ground at a great distance from the original plants. They are not well-bred like the rattlesnake, who always gives a friendly warning of his intentions; and the first intimation one has of their whereabouts is to find himself covered with their pods. Time must then be taken to pick them off, even though, as Thoreau says: "You were running for your life." The family is also a numerous one, and it is almost impossible not to come in contact with some of them when taking a stroll in the autumn.

Prostrate Tick Trefoil Meibomia Michauxii 191

M. Canadensis is the tallest and most showy of the genus; often reaching six feet high. It is not at all discriminating in its choice of a home, and can be found almost anywhere, from the heart of the woods to the middle of a bog.

M. nudiflora is a smaller and very common species of the open woods. Its purple flowers grow in a raceme on a usually leafless scape.

M. grandiflora bears a long raceme of flowers with leaves divided into large leaflets crowded below it on the same stem.

All of these plants are readily known by their purplish papilionaceous corollas and three-foliolate leaves. The bloom is often quite pretty.