E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Thermopsis rhombifolia (Nutt. ex Pursh) Nutt. ex Richardson
prairie golden bean (prairie thermopsis)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #12724)

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Distribution of Thermopsis rhombifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick woody rhizome; stems erect to ascending, 10-40 cm tall, mostly unbranched, appressed-hairy to nearly glabrous.
Alternate, palmately compound, stalked; leaflets 3, oblanceolate to elliptic, 1.5-3 cm long, short-hairy on both surfaces or glabrous above; lowest stipules papery, sheathing, the upper ones large, egg-shaped, resembling leaflets, joined to the leaf-stalk at the base.
Inflorescence a dense, stalked, erect, terminal raceme, 5-10 cm long, of 10 to 30 erect, pea-like flowers; corollas bright yellow, 17-25 mm long; calyces bell-shaped, 8-13 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip 2-toothed, the lower 3-toothed, the teeth triangular.
Pods, linear, flattened, 4-8 cm long, spreading and curved, stiff-papery, usually soft-hairy; seeds several.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist meadows and grasslands in the montane zone; rare in SE BC, E to MB and S to NE, ND, CO, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Thermopsis arenosa A. Nels.
Thermopsis montana var. ovata (B.L. Rob. ex Piper) H. St. John
Thermopsis ovata B.L. Rob. ex Piper
Thermopsis rhombifolia var. annulocarpa (A. Nels.) L.O. Williams
Thermopsis rhombifolia var. arenosa (A. Nels.) Larisey
Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (B.L. Rob. ex Piper) Isely
Thermopsis rhombifolia var. rhombifolia

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References