Desmodium is a sneaky little plant. You walk across a lawn, or step
through a tiny mowed area to get to your car faster, and later when you
glance down you discover that you've picked up a zillion little
hitchhikers. The tiny flat bean shaped burrs are stuck all over your
shoes, socks, and or pants, and you have no idea where they came from.
Desmodium is where those burrs came from.
They come in many shades of brown, green and yellow, by ones and twos,
or in numbers so great that you feel like you brought the whole front
yard inside with you.
Yes, I ran around kicking Desmodium to get this picture for you to laugh at:
They seem to stick to just about anything that comes near them, and
the washing machine and dryer don't seem to budge them (except when you
unwittingly wash some, and find them later because they've moved and
taken up residence on the inner surface of your underclothing!)
This photo shows how it lurks nearly invisible in the lawn, flowers long
gone, waiting for a chance to hop on for a ride with you.
I doubt that I can say that every burr has its butterfly
, but this
one does, so before you begin your eradication campaign, consider that
Desmodium is supposed to be the host plant
several different skipper butterflies
I'm still searching for caterpillars
and I'll update this if I find one.
Desmodium has leaves in groups of three at the end of the stem. These
pictures might help you find it in your lawn when it isn't in bloom:
Desmodium is growing on me (& sticking to me!) I started off despising it, before I even
knew what it was called. Then I learned that it was a skipper host plant, and
I liked it just a little bit more.
Now I've found this little
caterpillar all curled up in a Desmodium leaf, and instead of plucking
the stuff out of my lawn as a weed, I'm carefully pinching off the top
of the plants to feed my caterpillar while leaving the roots and a few
leaves intact to grow more food for it.
It hasn't grown up yet, but I did find another one, so now I'm raising
two. I also found this Long-tailed Skipper laying her eggs on Desmodium. I'll have to
remember not to pull that one to feed my others! I'd have taken a
picture of the egg, but it started to rain and my camera is not
waterproof, so I'll have to go look for it later.
Update: One caterpillar grew up, made a chrysalis, and turned into a beautiful
Long-tailed Skipper butterfly. The other
caterpillar, well, that's a
different story that I need to remember to add when I get some more time.