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Wildflower Wednesday

Updated: Feb 28

This week’s Wildflower Wednesday featured flower is Showy Tick Trefoil.

Showy Tick Trefoil is a native wildflower from the pea family that blooms July – Sept. It can be found in prairies, roadsides, and open woods.

It is high in protein and an important food source for birds and manual. It is also known to improve soil conditions by releasing nitrogen into the soil.

There is very few historical references to its use for food or medical purposes but there is a recent study (2019) looking into its antiviral activity against the avian infectious bronchitis virus.

It gets its name from its “showy “flowers (when compared to other trefoils) and its Velcro like seedpods that easily stick to hair and clothes (tick).

Henry David Thoreau wrote of this flower "I can hardly clamber along one of our cliffs in September in search of grapes without getting my clothes covered with Desmodium ticks. Though you were running for your life, they would have time to catch and cling to you -- often the whole row of pods, like a piece of a very narrow saw blade with four or five great teeth. They will even fasten to your hand. They cling by the same instinct as babes to the mother’s breast, craving a virgin soil -- eager to descry new lands and seek their fortune in foreign parts; they steal a passage somewhere aboard of you, knowing that you will not put back into the same port."


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