New Mexico bird's-foot trefoil, more...
[Hosackia puberula var. nana A. Gray, more]
Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973, Allred and Ivey 2012, Shreve and Wiggins 1964, McDougall 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, 15-35 cm tall, from a woody taproot; stems several, ascending or sometimes prostrate to decumbent, branched; herbage sparsely to densely strigose or silky pubescent. Leaves: Alternate, nearly sessile, and pinnately compound, with 3-5 leaflets per leaf; leaflets oblanceolate, linear, or oblong, 2-24 mm long and 2-5 mm wide, strigose; stipules minute, reduced to glands. Flowers: Yellow, in umbel-like clusters of 3-12 flowers, on peduncles usually at least 1 cm long from the leaf axils; flowers about 1 cm or slightly longer, with pea-flower morphology (papilionoid); sepals 5, appressed-strigose, fused into a tube 3 mm long, topped with 5 linear-lanceolate teeth, 2-3 mm long; corolla 8-12 mm long, yellow, the banner sometimes tinged red. Fruits: Pods linear, 2-3 cm long, straight or slightly curved near the tip, sparsely strigose; containing 6-12 seeds. Ecology: Found on slopes, mesas, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and ponderosa pine forests, in sandy to gravelly soils, from 2,500-7,500 ft (762-2286 m); flowers June- September. Distribution: se NV, sw UT, AZ, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: Distinguished by being a perennial with many stems from the base; mostly appressed hairs throughout the plant; nearly sessile leaves with 3-5 leaflets that may appear palmate but are actually pinnate upon close inspection; stalks below inflorescences (peduncles) longer than leaves; and pods less than 4mm wide. Distinguish from P. greenei based on the stems which are almost always prostrate and ground-hugging in that species and more often ascending and upright in L. plebius; also L. greenei is covered with short, spreading brownish hairs while this species has white, mostly appressed hairs which can be quite sparse in some specimens (use your hand lens). Distinguish from L. wrightii based on the leaves, which are truly palmately compound in that species, with all leaflets emerging from the same point at the tip of the short petiole (L. plebius is pinnate with at least one leaflet attached a little lower on the stalk than the others); and the flowers which are nearly sessile (L. plebius has flowers on peduncles that are longer than the leaves.) Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Lotus comes from the Greek lotos, a plant name with diverse applications in ancient times; plebius is Latin for common. Synonyms: Hosackia puberula var. nana, Lotus longebractaetus, L. oroboides, L. neomexicanus, Lotus nummularius Editor: Springer et al. 2008, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017
This project made possible by National Science Foundation Award 1410069