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Indian Breadroot

Pediomelum mephiticum

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Mesquite Wash, Maricopa County, Arizona. May 2009. This specimen has completed blooming but the spikes of pods and papery calyx bracts are conspicuous.

PERENNIAL: Entirely herbaceous above ground; regrows each year from underground root with most of the leaves close to the ground.

FLOWERS: Pale purple flowers often obscured by long calyx lobes. Clustered into short, dense spike. Blooms April to May.

LEAVES: Palmately compound leaves are silvery on top and have a distinct, unpleasant odor. There are glands on the leaves which are mostly hidden by the hairs.

RANGE: Upper elevations of the Sonoran Desert in eastern Maricopa Co. and ranging north into Utah. Uncommon.

FRUIT: Small bean capsules with one or a few seeds are covered with silky hairs.

UNARMED. Without thorns.

Fabaceae -- Bean Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009