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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Leguminosae
Lotus australis

Citation: Andrews, Bot. Rep. 10:t. 624 (1811) var. australis.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Australian trefoil, austral trefoil.

Description:
Pubescent perennial herb with stiffly erect hollow stems to 60 cm long, often ascending from a woody rootstock; leaves sessile; leaflets 5, obovate-cuneate to narrowly oblanceolate, 10-40 x 2-10 mm, the smaller stipule-like ones embracing the stem, apiculate or obtuse, more or less pubescent with white appressed hairs on both sides; flowers 3-8 in umbels; peduncles axillary, 2-10 cm long, longer than the leaves, with 3 leafy bracts at the summit.

Flowers 10-20 mm long, subsessile; calyx campanulate, 7-11 mm long, pubescent; lobes lanceolate-subulate, usually rather longer than the tube; petals rosy-pink or white; standard ovate-truncate, cuneate, larger than the other petals; wings paler, obovate; keel usually darker, obtusely curved (not angled) along the lower edge, gradually tapering into an obtuse sometimes darker beak.

Pod terete, 30-50 x 2-4 mm, with a slightly raised tip, brown, glabrescent, many-15-seeded; seed suborbicular, c. 2 mm, laterally compressed, dark-brown, smooth.

Published illustration: Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 400.

Distribution:  S.Aust.: FR, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE.   All States but not central Australia.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: apparently the whole year round, commonly in spring.


SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: Some coastal (including islands) specimens have a greyish appearance with shorter internodes and more distinct nodes on stems which are more flexuose than in inland specimens.

Author: Not yet available


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