Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Aeschynomene americana L.
- Family: Pea (Fabaceae)
- Flowering: July-October
- Field Marks: The fruits of this joint-vetch are conspicuously scalloped. Each leaflet has 2
or 3 conspicuous veins.
- Habitat: Roadsides, ditches, low waste places, swales, and fresh marshes.
- Habit: Annual herb with slender roots.
- Stems: Upright, branched, up to 6 feet tall, stiff-hairy when young, becoming nearly
smooth at maturity.
- Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, with up to 30 pairs of leaflets; leaflets linear,
asymmetrical, without teeth, minutely hairy, up to 3/4 inch long, with 2 or 3 conspicuous
- Flowers: Few in axillary, zigzag racemes, the flower stalks with small, stiff hairs; bracts subtending the flowers ciliate.
- Sepals: 5-parted, united, 2-lipped, green.
- Petals: Sweet-pea shaped, red, purple, or yellowish, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Stamens: 10, united below.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Segmented pods (loments) deeply scalloped along one edge, with 3-9 segments;
segments smooth, each containing a single seed; seeds dark purple or black, about 1/8 inch
- Notes: This species may be common in one area one year, and absent from the same area
the next year.
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