Scape. - About two feet long. Leaves. - Divided into three broad leaflets, crowded at the summit of the flowerless stems. Flowers. - Papilionaceous, purplish-pink, small, growing in an elongated raceme on a mostly leafless scape.
This is a smaller, less noticeable plant than D. Canadense. It nourishes abundantly in dry woods, where it often takes possession in late summer to the exclusion of nearly all other flowers.
The flowers of D. acuminatum grow in an elongated raceme from a stem about whose summit the leaves, divided into very large leaflets, are crowded; otherwise it resembles D. nudiflorum.
D. Dillenii grows to a height of from two to five feet, with erect leafy stems and medium-sized flowers. It is found commonly in open woods.
Many of us who do not know these plants by name have uttered various imprecations against their roughened pods. Thoreau writes: "Though you were running for your life, they would have time to catch and cling to your clothes. . . . These almost invisible nets, as it were, are spread for us, and whole coveys of desmodium and bidens seeds steal transportation out of us. I have found myself often covered, as it were, with an imbricated coat of the brown desmodium seeds or a bristling chevaux-de-frise of beggar-ticks, and had to spend a quarter of an hour or more picking them off in some convenient spot; and so they get just what they wanted - deposited in another place."