from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various plants of the genus Desmodium, usually having trifoliolate compound leaves, racemes of small purplish or white flowers, and jointed seedpods with easily separable, one-seeded segments.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a name given to many plants of the leguminous genus Desmodium, which have trifoliate leaves, and joined pods roughened with minute hooked hairs by which the joints adhere to clothing and to the fleece of sheep.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A plant of the genus Desmodium: so named from the trifoliate leaves and the joints of the pods, which are adhesive like ticks.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various tropical and subtropical plants having trifoliate leaves and rough sticky pod sections or loments


From tick2 (from the way its pods adhere to animals).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


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