Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Click the number at the start of a key lead to highlight both that lead and its corresponding lead. Click again to show only the two highlighted leads. Click a third time to return to the full key with the selected leads still highlighted.

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Keyed in multiple places:

Key to Fabaceae, Key E: herbaceous legumes with palmate leaves with 4 or more leaflets [subfamily Faboideae]

1 Leaflets 4; corolla yellow; [tribe Dalbergieae]
1 Leaflets 5 or more (at least on the largest and best developed leaves); corolla blue, pink, or violet (except yellow in Lupinus luteus).
..2 Leaflets and fruits not glandular-punctate; stamens monadelphous; [tribe Genisteae]
..2 Leaflets and fruits glandular-punctate; stamens diadelphous; [tribe Psoraleeae].
....3 Leaflets linear to very narrowly oblanceolate, 0.5-2.0 (-3.5) mm wide, > 10× as long as wide; [Coastal Plain]
....3 Leaflets broader, > 5 mm wide, 2-4.5× as long as wide; [collectively more widespread]

Key to Fabaceae, Key I: herbaceous legumes with all leaves unifoliolate or leaflets absent [subfamily Faboideae]

1 Tendrils present on plant; leaves modified into tendrils (leaflike structures present clearly interpretable as stipules); [tribe Fabeae].
..2 Legume 4-7 mm wide; corolla 10-13 mm long
..2 Legume 12-20 mm wide; corolla 18-25 mm long
1 Tendrils absent; leaves or stipules present on plant and interpretable as leaves with 1 leaflet.
....3 Leaflet blades roundish, 0.6-1.5× as long as wide.
......4 Leaves with a well-developed petiole, > 0.5 cm long.
........5 Leaflet margins dentate; corollas white to pink; [tribe Psoraleeae]
........5 Leaflet margins entire; corollas yellow; [tribe Phaseoleae]
......4 Leaves sessile, subsessile, or perfoliate.
..........6 Corolla bright or creamy yellow; stamens separate; leaves all 1-foliolate; leaflet blades perfoliate or sessile; [tribe Thermopsideae]
..........6 Corolla violet to blue (drying pale); stamens diadelphous; leaves 1-foliolate and with some leaves 3-foliolate or 2-foliolate; leaflet blades cuneate, subsessile; [tribe Psoraleeae]
....3 Leaflet blades elongate, 1.5-15× as long as wide.
............ 7 Leaves basally disposed.
............ ..8 Leaflet blades elliptic, widest near the midpoint of the blade; flowers pink, rose, or purplish; legume straight; [native of the Coastal Plain, se. NC south to s. FL, west to e. LA]; [tribe Genisteae]
............ ..8 Leaflet blades oblanceolate, widest well past the midpoint of the blade; flowers yellow; legume coiled; [rare waif]; [tribe Loteae]
............ 7 Leaves all or primarily cauline.
............ ....9 Leaves long-petioled, the petiole > 2 cm long.
............ ......10 Petiole winged its entire length; leaflet blade 2-4× as long as wide, sagittate at the base; foliage not glandular; [tribe Phaseoleae]
............ ......10 Petiole not winged; leaflet blade 8-15× as long as wide, cuneate at the base; foliage glandular-punctate; [tribe Psoraleeae]
............ ....9 Leaves sessile, subsessile, or short-petiolate, the petiole < 1.5 cm long.
............ ........11 Stamens monadelphous; corolla yellow, 8-30 mm long; [tribe Crotalarieae]
............ ........11 Stamens diadelphous; corolla purple, lavender, or cream, 5-15 mm long.
............ ..........12 Corolla 11-15 mm long, purple; [se. and s. TX]; [tribe Diocleae]
............ ..........12 Corolla 5-7 mm long, lavender or cream; [widespread in our area]
............ ............ 13 Flowers solitary in leaf axils; [tribe Loteae]
............ ............ 13 Flowers in racemose inflorescences; [tribe Desmodieae]

Key to Fabaceae, Key A: woody legumes with all leaves 1-, 2-, or 3-foliolate, or reduced to flattened phyllodia or phyllodial spines

1 Stamens numerous; inflorescences of many flowers arranged in a closely packed sphere or cylinder; leaves replaced by phyllodes, these leathery in texture and often crescent-shaped; [Mimosoid clade]
1 Stamens 10 (or fewer); inflorescences various, the flowers larger and more diffuse; leaves 1-, 2-, or 3-foliolate, or reduced to phyllodial apines; [subfamily Faboideae or Cercidioideae]
..2 Leaves 1- or 2-foliolate and > 2 cm wide; trees, shrubs, or lianas.
....3 Seeds 1-2 (-4) per fruit; corolla pale yellow, pale pink, or white; longest petals 7-10 mm long; [subfamily Faboideae]
....3 Seeds > 5 per fruit; corolla purplish-pink, bright pink, or white; longest petals 10-100 mm long [subfamily Cercidioideae]
......4 Leaves with a rounded to apiculate apex; flowers strongly bilaterally symmetrical, “pseudopapilionoid”; petals 0.8-1.5 cm long; legumes 4-10 cm long; [natives and aliens, and widely cultivated]
......4 Leaves either unifoliolate with a deeply notched apex or 2-foliolate; flowers slightly bilaterally symmetrical; petals 1.5-8 (-10) cm long; legumes 7-30 cm long; [aliens, of FL peninsula].
........5 Shrub or tree; petals 3-8 (-10) cm long
........5 Liana (climbing by twining and by tendrils); petals 1.5-2.0 cm long
..2 Leaves 3-foliolate, or reduced to phyllodial spines, or 1-foliolate (but then < 2 cm wide); shrubs or woody vines (rarely trees in Erythrina); [subfamily Faboideae].
..........6 Woody vine (Pueraria, a robust herbaceous vine, is also keyed here as a failsafe).
............ 7 Terminal leaflet 1.5-2.5× as long as wide; legume 4-6 cm wide; seeds 2-3 cm wide; corolla yellow
............ 7 Terminal leaflet 0.8-1.3× as long as wide; legume 0.8-1.3 cm wide; seeds < 1 cm wide; corolla purplish or red.
............ ..8 Calyx 4.5-6 mm long; leaflets unlobed; [tribe Phaseoleae]
............ ..8 Calyx 10-12 mm long; leaflets generally lobed; [tribe Phaseoleae]
..........6 Shrub or tree.
............ ....9 Shrub with angled or flanged green twigs; leaves palmately trifoliolate, unifoliolate, or reduced to spine-tipped phyllodes; [introduced]; [tribe Genisteae].
............ ......10 Flowers red-purple; calyx 2-3 mm long; [tribe Galegeae]
............ ......10 Flowers bright yellow; calyx 3-15 mm long; [tribe Genisteae]
............ ........11 Leaves all reduced to phyllodial spines; flowers axillary; calyx 10-15 mm long
............ ........11 Leaves with normal lamina, either 1-foliolate or 3-foliolate; flowers in terminal racemes; calyx 3-6 mm long.
............ ..........12 Leaves 3-foliolate lower on the stem, often 1-foliolate above; corolla 15-22 mm long
............ ..........12 Leaves 1-foliolate throughout; corolla either 10-14 mm or 20-25 mm long
............ ............ 13 Corolla 10-14 mm long; fruits 1.5-3 cm long
............ ............ 13 Corolla 20-25 mm long; fruits 5-10 cm long
............ ....9 Shrub or tree with twigs various, but not conspicuously green or flanged; leaves pinnately trifoliolate or unifoliolate.
............ ............ ..14 Leaflet margins toothed; [rare waif]; [tribe Trifolieae]
............ ............ ..14 Leaflet margins entire; [collectively common and widespread].
............ ............ ....15 Leaves unifoliolate; [tribe Genisteae]
............ ............ ....15 Leaves trifoliolate.
............ ............ ......16 Corolla 30-50 mm long, scarlet; legume with several seeds; leaflets lobed or not; [tribe Phaseoleae]
............ ............ ......16 Corolla 8-15 mm long, purplish, pink, or white; legume 1-seeded; leaflets not lobed.
............ ............ ........17 Foliage glandular-punctate; [tribe Psoraleae]
............ ............ ........17 Foliage eglandular; [tribe Desmodieae]