Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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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.

TRIFOLIUM

CLOVER

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]

Native

T. variegatum Nutt.

Annual or possibly short-lived perennial herb, generally ± glabrous
Stem prostrate to erect, wiry to fleshy
Leaves cauline; lower stipules generally entire; upper stipules deeply cut; leaflets generally obovate or wedge-shaped, sometimes narrower
Inflorescence head-like, included or exserted from leaves, 0.5–2.5 cm wide, 1–many-flowered; involucre wheel-like, generally well developed
Flower: calyx 3–10 mm, tube 10–many-veined, all or some lobes generally > tube, bristle-tipped; corolla 3.5–16 mm, lavender to purple, tips generally white
Fruit: stalk-like base short or 0
Seeds 1–2
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology:
Elevation: 50–2500 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: sporadic to British Columbia, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Baja California
Most variable of CA clovers; ± 30 names available; most conspicuous CA variants treated as phases below, with commonly used names indicated for each. Keel shape seems taxonomically insignificant (acute to beaked in phases 1 and 3); additional research needed.

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