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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 or perennial herb, unarmed
Leaves generally palmately compound; stipules conspicuous, partly fused to petiole; leaflets generally 3, sometimes 5–9, ± serrate or dentate
Inflorescence: raceme (often umbel-like), head, or spike, axillary or terminal, generally many-flowered, often involucred, generally peduncled; flowers bracted or not
Flower generally spreading to erect, often becoming reflexed; corolla generally purple to pale lavender, sometimes yellow, persistent after flower; 9 filaments fused, 1 free
Fruit generally indehiscent, but often breaking, short, plump, generally included in corolla; base often stalk-like
Seeds 1–6
Etymology: (Latin: 3 leaves)
Reference: [Gillett 1980 Can J Bot 58:1425–1558; Zohary & Heller 1984 Genus Trifolium]


T. depauperatum Desv.

Annual, often very small, glabrous
Stem decumbent to erect
Leaves cauline; lower stipules oblong; upper stipules bristle-tipped; leaflets 0.5–2 cm, narrowly oblong to obovate, entire or toothed, sometimes lobed, tip often truncate
Inflorescence head-like, 0.5–1.5 cm wide, 3–many-flowered; involucre present or vestigial
Flower: calyx 2.5–5 mm, glabrous; corolla 4–9 mm, pink-purple, white-tipped, banner inflated in fruit
Fruit: stalk-like base short to 0; style generally persistent
Seeds 1–5
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Common. Salt marshes, grasslands, coastal woodlands, openings, wet meadows, ditches, roadsides, other disturbed places, open alkaline or spring-moist, heavy soils
Elevation: < 900 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada Foothills, n&c High Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, South Coast, Channel Islands, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: w N.America, S.America
Varieties depauperatum, truncatum predominant.


var. hydrophilum (Greene) Isely

Plant often fleshy
Inflorescence often 1–1.5 cm wide; involucre bracts basally fused, < 1 mm
Flower: calyx 2.5–5 mm; corolla 6.5–9 mm, striate
Fruit ± = style, ovoid to oblong; stalk-like base 0.5–1 mm
Seeds 1–2
Ecology: Possibly extinct. Salt marshes, open areas in alkaline soils
Elevation: < 300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Sacramento Valley, Central Western California
Synonyms: T. amplectens Torr. & A. Gray var. h. (Greene) Jeps
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for TRIFOLIUM%20depauperatum%20var.%20hydrophilum being generated

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Trifolium depauperatum var. hydrophilum
Retrieve dichotomous key for Trifolium
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
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