Beggar Ticks

Seed ticks seem to be waiting any and everywhere lately. They are relentless in their attack. So why would anyone want to call a lovely flower a beggar tick?

lavender beggar tick flowers

These are among the largest beggar tick flowers.

These pink to purple flowers line long drooping branches or tall bush branches. There are more than a dozen kinds of these flowers that are so similar even botanists can have trouble telling them apart.

Each flower has two upright petals and two drooping petals as though each flower has a long mustache. This is a typical legume flower shape.

dark pink beggar tick flowers

Darker pink these medium sized beggar tick flowers look to me like two ears at attention over a little dog’s face.

The road is lined with these flowers. The pasture is rimmed with them. I stopped at a local Conservation lake and found them blooming there.

Usually I think of late summer as a profusion of yellows. This summer has more pink beggar ticks than yellow daisy type flowers. Both look nice setting off the still blooming tall blue bellflowers.

big pink beggar tick flowers

Similar to the large lavender beggar tick flowers, these are smaller and more pink. Like the lavender ones, these flowers form clusters toward the ends of branches on taller more bushy plants.

Flowers attract insects to pollinate them. Seeds develop inside seed pods. Beggar ticks are beginning to do that.

Chains of triangular flat seeds hang from where flowers bloomed. Now they are green lined with purple. Soon they will turn brown.

small beggar tick flower

This smaller beggar tick flower is reduced to the top petals and long stamens and pistil.

Then these flowers earn their name.

Those chains of brown seed ticks have a coating of stiff hairs on them. Those hairs stick to any and everything within reach pulling the chains loose from their branches.

pink beggar tick flowers

Pink beggar tick flowers are small. They line the entire drooping branch hanging low over the ground.

Go for a walk and come in plastered with these flat chains of triangular seed pods. Pull one chain and it breaks so each pod must be pulled off individually.

beggar tick seed pods

These strings of beggar tick seed pods have lovely colors. After they turn brown, they are truly beggar ticks.

Like ticks these seed pods are determined and relentless in their attack. Removing them takes patience and persistence. They lie in wait begging for a ride and stubborn as ticks.

At least beggar ticks don’t bite.