Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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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.


Elizabeth McClintock

Perennial, shrub, tree, unarmed or spines weak
Leaves even-1-pinnate, alternate; stipules sometimes small or ephemeral; leaflets 2–10(18) pairs
Inflorescence: raceme or panicle, axillary or terminal
Flower generally slightly bilateral, generally showy; sepals ± free; petals free, generally yellow; stamens free, 7 fertile, 3 sterile, anthers generally > filaments, opening by terminal pores
Fruit dehiscent or not
Seeds few–many
Species in genus: ± 260 species: especially Am tropical, also warm temp, sometimes deserts
Etymology: (Arabic: Sana)
Reference: [Irwin & Barneby 1982 Mem New York Bot Gard 35:1–918]
Some cultivated as orns. Dried leaves of some species cathartic.


S. didymobotrya (Fresen.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby

Shrub, unarmed, leafy, hairy, generally strongly scented
Leaf: stipules generally persistent or tardily deciduous, 6–17 mm, ovate-cordate; leaflets 7–10(18) pairs, ± overlapped, opposite, 2–6.5 cm, sessile, oblong, tips abrupt, slender
Inflorescence: raceme, axillary toward stem tips, many-flowered; bracts in cone-shaped cluster covering uppermost, unopened flowers, 1–2 cm, widely ovate, brownish to blackish, falling after flowers open
Flower: petals concave, longest 1.5–2.5 cm, obovate
Fruit dehiscent, 8–12 cm, oblong, flat; transverse partitions between seeds
Seeds many
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed, urban areas
Elevation: < 100 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Central Coast, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: native to tropical Africa

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