University of Missouri Extension

MP903, New May 2008

Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest

Beggar's lice

Forb

Brood coverFood
 

Desmodium leavesDesmodium leaves consist of three leaflets.

Rob Chapman, Missouri Department of Conservation
 

Desmodium flowers Desmodium flowers resemble those of most other legumes.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation
 

Seedpods are fuzzy and linked end to end

Triangular seedpods are fuzzy and linked end to end.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation

Seedpods readily stick to clothing and fur

Seedpods readily stick to clothing and fur.

Jim Rathert, Missouri Department of Conservation

Each triangular pod contains a kidney-shaped seed

Each triangular pod contains a kidney-shaped seed. (scale divisions = 1 mm)

Fred Fishel, University of Missouri

Description

Anyone who has walked through a patch of weeds, open woods or prairie in the fall has encountered beggar's lice. The triangular seedpods are covered with dense hairs that cause them to stick to clothing. During the growing season, Desmodium can be recognized by the divided leaf and pink flower.

Bloom period

May to August

Use by bobwhites

These native legumes are an important food for bobwhites in the fall, found in nearly all quail crops. Legumes tend to attract many insects during the growing season, making them an excellent component of brooding habitat as well. Nineteen species of Desmodium are known to occur in the Midwest.
 

MP903, new May 2008

MP903 Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest | University of Missouri Extension

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