General: Perennial herb from a taproot and branching stem-base, often with rhizomes; stems several to many, tufted, decumbent to erect, 10-40 cm long/tall, with short, appressed, unbranched (in ours) hairs.
Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, 3-15 cm long, stalked; leaflets 7 to 21, linear to lance-oblong or oval, 5-30 mm long, greyish appressed-hairy on both surfaces or green and glabrous above; stipules lanceolate, 2-7 mm long, fused into a membranous sheath.
Flowers: Inflorescence a loose to compact, axillary raceme of 3 to 20 more or less spreading, pea-like flowers, the racemes 1-10 cm long on slender stalks from shorter to longer than the leaves; corollas 8-12 mm long, from white or yellowish to bluish, the banner and wings with blue to pinkish-purple pencilling, the banner slightly longer than the wings and the purple-tipped keel; calyces 3-6 mm long, white or black appressed-hairy, the teeth triangular-awl-shaped, about 1 mm long.
Fruits: Pods, narrowly oblong, nearly unstalked, drooping, glabrous to hairy, 1.5-2.5 cm long, flattened or not, becoming papery, 1-chambered.
Notes: Two varieties occur in BC:
1. Leaflets equally hairy on both sides, the foliage silvery or frosted; calyces 4.5-6 mm long; keels 8-10.5 mm long.......................... var. miser
1. Leaflets glabrous or becoming so above, if hairy then the flowers much smaller; calyces less than 4 mm long; keels 6-8 mm long.............................. var. serotinus (A. Gray) Barn.
Mesic to dry grasslands, sagebrush flats, meadows, thickets, bluffs, roadsides, rocky slopes and forest openings from the steppe to lower alpine zones; common in BC S of 53degreeN and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare northward to 57degreeN; E to SW AB and S to C WA (var. serotinus) and S to ID, MT and NE WA (var. miser).
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2020-09-23 8:09:06 PM
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