Species Profile

Illinois Tick-trefoil

Scientific Name: Desmodium illinoense
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2000
COSEWIC Status: Extirpated
COSEWIC Status Criteria:
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: Seemingly extirpated from the site of the single historical record and presently unknown from other suitable habitats.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: No site records since 1888. Designated Extirpated in April 1991. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Extirpated
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Habitat | Biology | Reasons for extirpation | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Illinois Tick-trefoil

Illinois Tick-trefoil Photo 1



The Illinois Tick Trefoil is a perennial herb. The flowers are white, pink or yellowish and often fade to purple. The fruit measures 4 to 8 mm in length and 3.5 to 5 mm in width. The smooth brown seeds measure about 2.5 mm in length and 2 mm in width.


Distribution and Population

The Illinois Tick Trefoil does not grow in Canada anymore; it was once found in southwestern Ontario.



The Illinois Tick Trefoil grows in tall prairie environments.



The Illinois Tick Trefoil reproduces mainly through seeds. Bees and butterflies are the main pollinators. The plant has explosive blossoms, which means that when a pollinator stops on a flower, a cloud of pollen is shot at it. Seeds are probably dispersed by animals.


Reasons for extirpation

The tall prairie habitat which the Illinois Tick Trefoil prefers has been drastically reduced in Ontario; loss of habitat is the main cause for the extirpation of this species from Canada.



Federal Protection

The Illinois Tick-trefoil is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Illinois Tick-trefoil (Desmodium illinoense) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

2 record(s) found.

Recovery Strategies

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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