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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. scoparius (Nutt.) Ottley


Perennial, often shrubby, glabrous or finely strigose
Stems clustered, generally ascending to erect (sometimes prostrate and mat-forming), bushy-branched, 0.5–2 m, greenish
Leaves ± pinnate, well spaced, often deciduous; stipules gland-like or 0; leaflets 3–6 (generally 3 on upper stem), 6–15 mm, elliptic
Inflorescence 2–7-flowered; peduncle generally 0
Flower: calyx 2.5–5 mm, lobes < tube, not curved outward; corolla 7–11 mm
Fruit indehiscent, widely spreading or pendent, 1–1.5 cm, curved, long-beaked
Seeds generally 2
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Chaparral, roadsides, coastal sand, desert slopes, flats, washes
Elevation: < 1500 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, North Coast Ranges, n Sierra Nevada Foothills, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: Arizona, Mexico
May hybridize with L. benthamii, L. junceus.


var. scoparius

Flower 7–12 mm; keel ± = wings
Ecology: Chaparral, roadsides, coastal sands
Elevation: < 1500 m. Common.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, North Coast Ranges, n Sierra Nevada Foothills, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast, Western Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: Baja California
Synonyms: subsp. s
Generally erect, may be trailing in shade or mat-forming on beaches. Island forms here referred to L. dendroideus
Horticultural information: DRN, SUN: 7, 8, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 &DRY: 15, 16, 17; STBL.

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bioregional map for LOTUS%20scoparius%20var.%20scoparius being generated
N.B. The distribution depicted here differs from that given in The Jepson Manual (1993)

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Lotus scoparius var. scoparius
Retrieve dichotomous key for Lotus
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