Content tagged with "legume"

Sesbania (Bequilla; Coffee-Weed; Hemp Sesbania)

Photo of sesbania flowers and foliage
Sesbania herbacea (formerly S. exaltata)
Sesbania, a type of legume, may become a troublesome exotic species in wetland communities that are managed for waterfowl. More

Showy Partridge Pea

Photo of showy partridge pea showing flowers, buds, and leaves.
The interesting, bright yellow flowers of showy partridge pea are immediately recognizable. At night, the leaflets close and pull upward into a sleeping position. More

Showy Partridge Pea

Photo of showy partridge pea plant showing flowers, leaves, and young fruits.
Showy partridge pea is one of the most commonly seen roadside plants of early fall. The unusual flowers have a fascinating biology and ecology, encouraging visits by bumblebee pollinators and ant protectors. When mature, the seeds split open suddenly and fling seeds more than a yard away. More

Showy Partridge Pea

Photo of showy partridge pea plant in a field.
The leaflets of showy partridge pea fold up along the midrib at night into a so-called sleeping position, and often upon being touched. This phenomenon is called nyctinasty and is thought to be an adaption to control water loss or afford protection from herbivores. Many members of the bean family exhibit this characteristic. More

Showy Partridge Pea

Photo of showy partridge pea showing flowers, buds, and leaves.
Chamaecrista fasciculata (formerly Cassia fasciculata)
The interesting, bright yellow flowers of showy partridge pea are immediately recognizable. At night, the leaflets close and pull upward into a sleeping position. More

Slender Bush Clover

Photo of slender bush clover flowers
Lespedeza virginica
A bushy native perennial legume with small clusters of pink flowers, slender bush clover provides nectar for numerous insects. Several types of birds eat the seeds, and many mammals eat the foliage. More

Thunberg’s Lespedeza (Shrub Lespedeza; Pink Bush Clover)

Lespedeza thunbergii
Thunberg’s lespedeza is a large, non-woody perennial shrub often cultivated as a showy, flowering ornamental. It sometimes escapes from cultivation and naturalizes in Missouri landscapes. More

Tick Trefoil (Beggar’s Lice)

Photo of tick trefoil plant with flowers
Those chains of papery, flattened, triangular “sticktights” come from a plant that looks like this when it blooms. Missouri has 20 species of tick trefoils. Species identification is difficult and often depends on close analysis of the seedpods. Tick trefoils are in the pea or bean family, and the pink, violet, or white flowers and 3-divided leaves are typical of that family. More

Tick Trefoil (Beggar’s Lice; Beggar’s Ticks)

Photo of tick trefoil plant with flowers
Desmodium spp. (20 species in Missouri)
Neither “tick trefoil” nor “beggar’s lice” is a noble-sounding name! But considering how the chains of hairy little seedpods stick to your clothing, likening these “sticktights” to parasites seems completely natural! More

Tick Trefoil (Beggar’s Lice; Beggar’s Ticks; Sticktights)

Photo of tick trefoil sticktights on denim fabric
The fruits of tick trefoil plants are a lot like flattened bean pods that, instead of splitting lengthwise, split crosswise, with one bean (seed) for each triangular section. (Carefully pick apart one of these sections, and you’ll discover a tiny, flattened bean inside.) These curious bean pods that split in sections are called "loments" by botanists. In tick trefoils, the loments also stick like Velcro to fabric and fur—“hitchhiking” is how these plants spread their seeds over great distances. More