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

Shrub, heavily armed, not gland-dotted
Stem much-branched from base, stiffly spreading, striate
Leaves simple, alternate; juvenile (on seedlings, young shoots near ground) linear; adult awl-like, stiff, becoming spines
Inflorescence: generally cluster, axillary near twig tips, few-flowered
Flower: calyx 2-lipped, membranous, yellow, persistent; petals ± equal, yellow, persistent
Fruit ± exserted from calyx, ovoid or oblong, explosively dehiscent
Seed with small basal outgrowth
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name)
Species in genus: ± 20 species: w Eur, n Africa.


U. europaeus L.

Stem < 3 m; twigs hairy when young, becoming stiff, thorn-like, intricately intertwined
Flower: calyx 15 mm; petals < 20 mm
Fruit 1–2 cm, densely hairy
Ecology: Common. Disturbed places, especially old fields, pastures
Elevation: 0–400 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range Foothills, n&c Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Francisco Bay Area, Inner South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: native to w Europe
Old plants very flammable. Weedy.

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