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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

FABACEAE

LEGUME FAMILY

Annual to tree
Leaves generally compound, alternate, stipuled; leaflets generally entire
Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; flowers sometime 1–2 in axils
Flowers generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium generally flat or cup-like; sepals generally 5, fused; petals generally 5, free, or the 2 lower ± fused; stamens 1–many, often 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1–many, style, stigma 1
Fruit: legume, sometimes including a stalk-like base above receptacle, dehiscent, or indehiscent and breaking into 1-seeded segments, or indehiscent, 1-seeded, and achene-like
Seeds 1–several, often ± reniform, generally hard, smooth
Genera in family: ± 650 genera, 18,000 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture and most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis , peanut; Glycine , soybean; Phaseolus , beans; Medicago ; Trifolium ; and many orns
Reference: [Polhill & Raven (eds) 1981 Advances in legume systematics; Allen & Allen 1981 Leguminosae]
Family description and key to genera by Duane Isely.

ACACIA

Elizabeth McClintock

Tree, shrub, armed or unarmed
Leaves even-2-pinnate or, if simple, true blades 0, petioles and midribs blade-like (comprising phyllodia), generally alternate, generally evergreen; axes with prominent raised glands or not
Inflorescence: heads, spheric, generally axillary, these solitary or in racemes or panicles, or flowers in spikes
Flower radial; sepals, petals inconspicuous; stamens many, conspicuous, exserted, free
Fruit generally dehiscent, sometimes tardily so, flat or ± cylindric
Species in genus: ± 1200 species: tropical, subtropical, especially Australia
Etymology: (Greek: sharp point)
Reference: [Whibley 1980 Acacias of South Australia; Clarke et al. 1989 Systematic Botany 14:549–564]
Australian species cultivated, sometimes naturalized and spreading in CA (seed arilled, stalk often elongated, encircing seed or not).

Introduced

A. verticillata (L'Hér.) Willd.

STAR ACACIA, PRICKLY MOSES

Shrub 1–4 m; leaf tips spine-like
Stem: twig ridged, ± hairy
Leaf simple, generally whorled, < 15 mm, needle-like; 1 vein more prominent than others
Inflorescence: group of 1–3 stalked spikes, axillary, ± = leaf
Flower pale yellow
Fruit 3–8 cm, 3–4 mm wide, straight, flat, barely narrowed between seeds
Seed arilled; stalk short, curved
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed areas
Elevation: < 150 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges, South Coast
Distribution outside California: native to se Australia

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