Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Florida Beggarweed: Desmodium tortuosum

flbeggar3-12.jpg (134312 bytes) Weed Description:   Summer annual, reaching 3-9 feet in height. Leaves and stems covered with short, stiff hairs that often stick to clothing.
Seedling:   Cotyledons round to oval with smooth margins, 3-5 mm wide, 5-8 mm long.
Leaves:  Alternate, consisting of 3 elliptic to oblong leaflets in upper leaves (trifoliate), perhaps only 1 leaflet in the lower leaves. Leaves occur on petioles and stipules occur where the petiole meets the stem. Each leaflet 3-4 inches long, ovate to lance-shaped.
Stems:  Erect, may be reddish-purple, 3-9 feet tall, usually covered with short stiff hairs.

Roots: Taproot.

Flowers:  Occur near the top of plants as racemes or branched panicles. Petals are bluish-purple to purple, 5-7 mm long.
Fruit:  A loment of 2-7 oval to circular segments, each 3-5 mm long, 3-4 mm broad. Each segment encloses a seed and is densely covered with short, stiff hairs that stick to clothing.

Identifying Characteristics:   Distinctive segmented fruit that sticks to clothing, hairy leaves and stems, and presence of stipules are all features that aide in the identification of this weed.