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Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Leguminosae
Lotus

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 773 (1753).

Derivation: Greco-Latin name of several very different plants, one being some sort of clover-like plant.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: None

Description:
Annual or perennial herbs, rarely half-shrubs; leaves sessile, of 5 leaflets, 3 of which are close together at the summit of the flattened petiole and 2 at its base resembling stipules; stipules minute and deciduous or reduced to tubercles or wanting.

Inflorescence axillary, capitate or umbellate, rarely 1-flowered on long rarely short peduncles, often with 3 leaf-like bracts beneath the flowers; bracteoles mostly absent; calyx 5-toothed, subcampanulate to bilabiate; corolla yellow, pink, red, purple or whitish, with an obovate to orbicular standard; wings obovate, auriculate; keel abruptly or gradually incurved, beaked, subacute, swollen towards the base on each side; stamens usually diadelphous, rarely united in an open tube, the filaments alternately long and short, the long ones broadened at the summit; anthers equal; ovary sessile, many-ovuled; style tapering or thickened above the ovary and thence geniculate, glabrous, straight and slender; stigma terminal or lateral.

Pod usually dehiscent, linear to oblong, terete or flattened, often with membranous transverse partitions between the minute transverse seeds, 1-many-seeded valves contorting on dehiscence, seed globular to lenticular, smooth or rarely rugulose, exarillate.

Distribution:  Over 100 species, mainly in the Mediterranean region, temperate Eurasia, South Africa, North America, New Zealand and 3 or 4 naturalised in Australia as good forage plants, of 2 native ones L. cruentus is recorded to be poisonous to stock, containing cyanogenic glycosides. (Ball & Chrtková-:Zertová (1968) Fl. Europaea 2:173-5.) Trefoils, lotuses.

Biology: No text

Key to Species:
1. Flowers purple, red, pink or white
 
2. Leaflets 15-40 mm long; umbel 3-8-flowered; flowers 10-20 mm long; keel obtusely curved along the lower edge
L. australis 2.
2. Leaflets c. 10 mm long; umbel l-3-flowered; flowers 6-9 mm long; keel abruptly curved along the lower edge
L. cruentus 3.
1. Flowers yellow
 
3. Flowers 10-18 mm long; umbel 3-12-flowered; calyx teeth equalling the tube; pod 2-3 mm diam.; perennial with a woody base
L. uliginosus 5.
3. Flowers 6-10 mm long, umbel l-4-flowered; calyx teeth longer than the tube; pod 1-2 mm diam.; annual
 
4. Pod 6-16 x 1.5-2 mm, c. 3 times longer than the calyx; keel obtusely angled along the lower edge
L. subbiflorus 4.
4. Pod 15-30 x 1-1.5 ram, c. 4 times longer than the calyx; keel curved to form a right angle along the lower edge
L. angustissimus 1.

Author: Not yet available


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