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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.

LOTUS

Duane Isely

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, unarmed
Leaves generally odd-1-pinnate (sometimes ± palmately compound, rarely some or most simple); stipules conspicuous or not; leaflets 3–many, often irregularly arranged
Inflorescence: umbel or 1–2-flowered, axillary, generally peduncled, often bracted
Flower: corolla generally yellow (sometimes white or pink), fading darker; 9 filaments fused, 1 free
Fruit dehiscent or not, exserted from calyx or not, ovoid to oblong, ± beaked
Seeds 1–several
Etymology: (Greek: derivation unclear)
Reference: [Isely 1981 Mem New York Bot Garden 25:128–206]
Spp. generally variable; intermediates may be hybrids. Key below separates natural groups.

Native

L. benthamii Greene

Perennial, glabrous or strigose
Stem mat-forming or ascending
Leaf irregularly pinnate or palmate; stipules gland-like; leaflets 3–5, 5–12 mm, elliptic or obovate
Inflorescence 3–10-flowered; peduncle bracted
Flower: calyx 3.5–6 mm, lobes < tube, slender, generally spreading or curved downward or hooked; corolla generally white or pink, often dark-striate
Fruit indehiscent, including (except beak)
Seeds 1–2
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Coastal dunes, slopes, bluffs
Elevation: 0–200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges.Evidently hybridizes with other species
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY, SUN: 17, 24.

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