What is the name of this small plant?
December 8, 2008 10:09 PM   Subscribe

[plant-filter] Please help me identify this ground plant, with its long branching stems and small sticky seed pods.

I noticed this plant carpeting an area of grass and cinder-block planters. The leaves are small, but it spreads along the ground from a central location with long branching stems, and establishes new roots along the nodes. The flowers sprout fuzzy seed pods that stick to clothing and skin.
(links go to photos on imageshack)

It's probably a weed, but my classification is based purely on the personal experience that any plant with sticky or burred seed pods was a weed.
posted by CancerMan to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Looks like one of the weedy types of Oxalis. What do the flowers look like?
posted by tula at 12:05 AM on December 9, 2008

It looks to me to be a kind of ticktrefoil or Desmodium. There are many different kinds of Desmodium but they have leaves made up of three leaflets and scalloped seed pods that stick like velcro as you describe. Desmodium I've seen where I've lived don't look quite like this, but apparently, the web says there are some Desmodium that are weedy in more tropical areas, so maybe if you are as far west as Hawaii then this might fit..? Going on the pictures and info here and here, I wonder if it's Desmodium triflorum? I have no experience with that plant myself though - just trying to match the pictures and info like you.
posted by onoclea at 12:29 AM on December 9, 2008

Flowers aren't as big as described of Oxalis. It looks like Desmodium triflorum is the name, based on the factsheet onoclea provided. The description of stems and seed pods are spot on, and looking at the pictures again, I do think I see three leaves.

I really appreciate the insights and research. Thank you!
posted by CancerMan at 8:21 AM on December 9, 2008

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