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. covesii (A. Gray) H.S. Irwin & Barneby


Subshrub, unarmed, leafy, densely white-hairy
Stem 3–6 dm
Leaf: stipules bristle-like, some persistent; leaflets 2–3 pairs, overlapped, opposite, short-stalked, 1–2.5 cm, elliptic
Inflorescence: raceme, axillary, 5–15 mm, few-flowered
Flower: petals ± 12 mm, oblong-obovate, prominently veined
Fruit dehiscent, 2–5 cm, oblong, ± straight
Seeds several
Ecology: Dry, sandy desert washes, slopes
Elevation: 500–600 m.
Bioregional distribution: Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: Nevada, Arizona, Baja California
Flowering time: Apr
Synonyms: Cassia c. A. Gray
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for SENNA%20covesii being generated

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