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Spiny Senna

Senna armata

Senna armata, Photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed at Joshua Tree National Monument, California. 30 April 2010.

RANGE: This is really a Mojave Desert plant that is found occasionally at the ecotones where it meets the Sonoran Desert. California and far western Arizona.

SHRUB: Most shrubs are about 1½ m tall.

FLOWERS: Bright waxy yellow, sometimes with red tinge and with five petals. Unopened buds are shiny and arrayed in spikes at branch ends.

ARMED: Twiglets are sharp at the tips and one or two years worth of dead, spiny twigs remain on the plants adding more armour.

LEAVES: The compound leaflets are few (2 to 8) and are soon shed with drought leaving the leaf rachis to carry on photosynthesis.

FRUIT: Straight pod, about 4 cm. long and with a few beans.

Fabaceae -- Bean Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 5 April 2012.