Perennial, Herbs, Stems woody below, or from woody crown or caudex, Plants with rhizomes or suckers, Taproot present, Nodules present, Stems or branches arching, spreading or decumbent, Stems prostrate, trailing, or mat forming, Stems less than 1 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Stems or young twigs sparsely to densely hairy, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules conspicuous, S tipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules persistent, Stipules free, Leaves compound, Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate, Leaves odd pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets opposite, Stipels present at base of leaflets, Leaflets 3, Leaves hairy on one or both surfaces, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescence axillary, Inflorescence terminal, Bracts conspicuously present, Bracts hairy, Bracteoles present, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 2-lipped or 2-lobed, Calyx hairy, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals blue, lavander to purple, or violet, Banner petal ovoid or obovate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens diadelphous, 9 united, 1 free, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a loment, jointed, separating into articles, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit indehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit exserted from calyx, Frui t compressed between seeds, Fruit hairy, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seeds reniform, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Stems diffuse to decumbent, herbs or small shrubs with a woody caudex. Leaves: Trifoliate leaves, leaflets ovate, dark green above, lighter in color with conspicuous reticulate veins beneath, the terminal one less than twice as long as wide. Flowers: In terminal or axillary racemes, simple or compound, corolla purple, pink, or white, bracts ovate to ovate lanceolate, to 6 mm long, not conspicuously overlapping, pubescent hairs hooked at the ends. Fruits: Flat loments with several single seeded segments, segments 5-8 mm long, very pubescent, indehiscent. Ecology: Found in pine woods from 4,500-8,000 ft (1372-2438 m); flowering August-September. Notes: The leaves of this species are noticeably more rounded than many other Desmodium, especially when young. The keys to this species are the ovate leaflets, the bracts to 6 mm, not overlapping, and the pubescence of the bracts are not hooked at the ends of the hairs. Also look to the segments (the individual seed pods) of the loments, which are 5-8 mm long. The plants can be vining and are often sticky. Ethnobotany: There is no specific use recorded for this species, however the genus was used as an infusion to treat vomiting and colds and as a wash for sores. Etymology: Desmodium is from the Greek desmos for chain, which is a reference to the jointed seed pods, while grahamii is named for James Duncan Graham (1799-1865) the astronomer on the Mexican Boundary Survey. Synonyms: Meibomia grahamii Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011