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Seaside Deervetch

Lotus salsuginosus

Deer Vetch, Lotus salsuginosus photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Stewart Mountain, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. March 2010.

ANNUAL: In the Sonoran Desert this plant is normally low-growing and often rather small annual of spring. With very good moisture supply plants can reach 60 cm across as the plant creeps along soil.

LEAVES: Compound, rather fleshy leaves usu. with few hairs and 3 to 7 leaflets. The sparse hairs are stiff and lay flat against the foliage - magnifier needed to see.

FLOWERS: Small, about 3 mm, bright yellow pea-flowers bloom around March, but only in springs that follow good winter rainfall.

FRUIT: Small bean pods with a short hooked appendage at tip.

RANGE: Fairly common in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Ranges west into California where a more robust variety of this species grows near the Pacific coast.

UNARMED. No spines.

Fabaceae -- Bean Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009