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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • 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. monanthum A. Gray

Perennial, very small, often cespitose, glabrous or puberulent
Stem slender or reduced
Leaves generally basal; stipules lanceolate to ovate; leaflets 2–12 mm, elliptic-oblanceolate to widely obovate
Inflorescence: reduced head, included or exserted from leaves, 1–6-flowered; involucre vestigial or bracts 2–5, inconspicuous, ± free, 1–3 mm
Flower: calyx 4–5 mm, lobes ± = tube, bristle-tipped; corolla 7–12 mm, white or lavender-striate
Fruit sometimes rupturing corolla
Seeds 1–2
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Pinyon pine belt upwards, mtn forests near streams, wet meadows with aspen or willows, coniferous woodlands
Elevation: 1500–3800 m.
Bioregional distribution: Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, South Coast, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains, East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: Nevada


var. grantianum (A. Heller) Parish

Leaf: leaflet length 4–6 X width, tip generally acute
Inflorescence 2–6-flowered
Ecology: Mtn forests near streams
Elevation: 1500–2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: South Coast, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains.

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