Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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



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.


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.


L. crassifolius (Benth.) Greene

Perennial, glabrous to hairy, often robust
Stem sprawling or erect, < 1.5 m
Leaf: stipules scarious, inconspicuous; leaflets 9–15, 2–3 cm, elliptic or obovate, length generally 1–2.5 X width, lower surface pale
Inflorescence generally 12–20-flowered; peduncle bract generally well below umbel
Flower: calyx 5–8 mm, lobes < tube; corolla 12–17 mm, yellow-green, becoming dark-blotched, claws exserted from calyx tube
Fruit dehiscent, 3.5–7 cm, 3–5 mm wide, oblong, glabrous
Seeds several
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Chaparral, pine or mixed woodlands and margins, roadsides, other disturbed places
Elevation: 300–2100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges (Riverside Co.)
Distribution outside California: to Washington


var. otayensis Isely


Plant conspicuously hairy
Flower: ovules 14–20
Ecology: Disturbed areas
Elevation: 900 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Peninsular Ranges (Otay Mtn, San Diego Co.).
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for LOTUS%20crassifolius%20var.%20otayensis being generated

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