Desmodium callianthum

Desmodium callianthum (340)

Other names:

  • Desmodium callianthum

Common names:

  • Desmodium - Tick trefoil, tick clover, hitch hokers or beggar lice

Location in the Gardens:

Season of interest:

  • An appealing twiggy shrub producing rich pink flowers in rich red calyces on slim red stems through much of summer. The foliage is also rather nice, being trifoliate, rich red when new, then subtly variegated in two shades of green.

Description of plant:

Deciduous upright shrub. Mid green leaves consist of three large leaves. Large racemes of pale lilac to deep pink flowers, late summer to mid-autumn.

Ideal growing conditions and habitat:

Fully to frost hardy. Needs full sun and well-drained soil.

Country of origin:

  • South West China

Highdown history:

The specimen at Highdown was raised from seed collected by the celebrated plant hunter Frank Kingdon-Ward in Tsangpo Gorge in Tibet in 1935. It was planted out in October 1937 on the south side of the greenhouse and can still be found there today. The original plant is in decline, due to age, but has been propagated by cutting and replanted in close proximity to the original.

Other interesting information:

Latin name meaning:

  • Desmodium - from Greek 'desmos', a band or chain, with reference to the jointed pods
  • Callianthum - meaning having beautiful flowers

Desmodium callianthum (744)

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