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Colutea arborescens

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 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, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ColuteaView Description 

Habit: Shrub, unarmed [armed]. Leaf: odd-1-pinnate, alternate; leaflets 5--13. Inflorescence: raceme, axillary, few-flowered. Flower: bilateral; sepals 5; petals 5, generally yellow [to +- red]; 9 filaments fused, 1 free. Fruit: indehiscent, ellipsoid, inflated, bladder-like, base stalk-like, walls papery. Seed: many.
Species In Genus: +- 28 species: central and southern Europe, Mediterranean, northern Africa to western China. Etymology: (Greek: ancient name) Note: Leaves with cathartic properties.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Duane Isely & Elizabeth McClintock

Colutea arborescens L.
Habit: Plant < 3 m, rounded; branches many; deciduous. Leaf: leaflets 9--13, 1.5--3 cm, elliptic, sparsely hairy. Flower: corolla 1.5--2 cm, yellow with dark marks. Fruit: body 2--3 cm, glabrous, stalk-like base 5--9 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=16.
Ecology: Uncommon. Roadsides, woodland, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: n SNF, SnGb; Distribution Outside California: introduced in United States; native to southern Europe. Flowering Time: May--Aug
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Duane Isely & Elizabeth McClintock
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botanical illustration including Colutea arborescens


Citation for this treatment: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Duane Isely & Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Colutea arborescens, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 24, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 24, 2018.

Colutea arborescens
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© 2010 Barry Breckling

More photos of Colutea arborescens in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Colutea arborescens:
n SNF, SnGb;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.