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Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Fabaceae
Lotus cruentus

Citation: Court, Victorian Nat. 73:174 (1957).

Synonymy: L, coccineus Schldl., Linnaea 21:452 (1848), non Velloso (1825), nec Fischer et al. (1835-46); L. australis Andrews var. pubescens Benth. in T.L. Mitchell, J. Trop. Austral. 348 (1848); L. australis Andrews var. parviflorus Benth., Fl. Aust. 2:189 ( 1864); L. australis Andrews var. behrianus Tate, Hdbk Fl. Extratrop. S. Aust. 69 (1890); L. australis Andrews var. behrii S. Moore & Betche, Hdbk Fl. N.S.W. 146 (1893), ?orthogr. error; L. australis Andrews var. coccineus F. Muell. (1878), ?nom. nud., recorded by J. Black (1948) Fl. S. Aust. 461; L. australis Andrews var. exstipulatus J. Black, Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 57:153 (1933). , Lotus coccineus

Common name: Redflower lotus, red birds-foot (or red-flowered) trefoil.

Pubescent perennial herbs with procumbent or ascending hollow stems 5-50 cm long, forming a mat on the ground or climbing over adjoining shrubs; leaflets 5-10, obovate, cuneate, rarely apiculate, rarely to 15 mm long, 2-7 mm wide, hispidulous to strigose, lower 2 stipule-like ones smaller; flowers 1-3 per umbel, on peduncles sometimes shorter than the leaves when 1-flowered, usually longer when more-flowered, with 3 leafy bracts at the summit.

Flowers 6-9 mm long, subsessile; calyx 4-5 mm long, narrowly turbinate, pubescent with white appressed hairs; upper 2 teeth lanceolate, slightly longer than the lower which are narrow-triangular, more or less equalling the tube; petals purple-red or pink, rarely white; standard suborbicular on the wide claw; wings oblong, slightly shorter; keel suddenly curved along the lower edge, as long as the standard, almost always dark-red distally on the beak.

Pod terete, 20-30 x 2-3 mm, slightly compressed, brown, to 20-seeded; seed subglobose or laterally compressed, 1.5-2 mm across, brown, often spotted with black.

image of FSA2_Lotus_cru.jpg
Image source: fig. 344A in J.P. Jessop and H.R. Toelken Ed. 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

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

Distribution:  S.Aust.: NW, LE, NU, GT, FR, EA, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL.   drier parts of all mainland States.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: all the year round, apparently depending on rainfall.

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

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish it from L. australis as the gradation from small to large flowers is continuous as well as the size of leaves and these two species in several cases are distinguished here arbitrarily only on the size of the flowers as given in the key.

Author: Not yet available

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