Desmodium varians

Family Fabaceae

Slender Tick-trefoil

Prostrate or climbing herb with thick rootstock. Leaf shape and colour very variable, often with reddish coloured leaves. longevity indefinete.

Flowers: Pink to white pea flowers, October – March.

Fruit: Pod 7–20 mm long, of about 5 distinct segments each segment contains one seed. These segments separate at maturity, October–April and dispersed by adhesion  to passing animals, .

Seed: 2.8 x 1.8 mm in size with a hard seed coat causing physical dormancy. Germinate readily after scarification. Soil stored seedbank.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Grassy woodland habitat.
  • Common in woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Resprout after fire.
  • Legumes reported to have nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium nodules on roots.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Desmodium varians plant

Desmodium varians flower

Desmodium varians fruit


Desmodium varians seed