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.

Key to Baptisia

1 Leaves 1-foliolate, sessile or perfoliate.
..2 Leaves perfoliate; plant glabrous or nearly so; [widespread, from s. SC southward]
..2 Leaves sessile; plant glabrous or densely cobwebby pubescent; [narrow endemics of GA and FL].
....3 Plant cobwebby-pubescent; leaves ca. 1× as long as wide, cordate at base; corolla 9-11 mm long, yellow; [of e. GA (Brantley and Wayne counties)]
....3 Plant glabrous; leaves 1.3-1.6× as long as wide, rounded to broadly cuneate at base; corolla 12-15 mm long, pale yellow to greenish; [of the FL Panhandle (Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla counties)]
1 Leaves 3-foliolate, petiolate or sessile.
......4 Flowering or fruiting pedicels bracteolate; corolla 11-14 mm long
........5 Calyx lobes about as long as the calyx tube
........5 Calyx lobes much > the calyx tube.
..........6 Plant glabrous; [of ne. FL (Clay and St. Johns counties)]
..........6 Plant tomentose to hirsute; [of FL Panhandle (Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties) and s. AL (Covington County)]
......4 Flowering or fruiting pedicels lacking bracteoles; corolla larger (except B. tinctoria).
............ 7 Plants in flower
............ 7 Plants in fruit

Key A: flowering Baptisia

1 Flowers lavender or blue.
..2 Leaflets 4-6 (-9) cm long, mostly > 12 mm wide; leaflets not oriented in a vertical plane; fertile stems usually 1-1.5 m tall, the leafy branches ascending; racemes 2-4 (-5) dm long, rather sparsely flowered; petioles 5-20 (-40) mm long; legumes 3.5-4 cm long, 1.0-1.5 cm in diameter; [of flood-scoured riverside cobblebars and rock outcrops, also frequently cultivated and sometimes persistent or escaped]
..2 Leaflets 2-4 (-5) cm long, mostly < 10 mm wide (if wider, then < 4 cm long); leaflets variously oriented (see below); fertile stems usually 0.4-1.0 m tall, the leafy branches horizontally spreading; racemes 1-2.5 (-4) dm long, rather densely flowered; petioles 0-4 (-12) mm long; legumes 3-6 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter.
....3 Leaflets mostly oriented in a vertical plane (so the plant is almost invisible when viewed from directly above); petioles (0-) 1-4 (-12) mm long; [of diabase and limestone glades, barrens, and woodlands east of the Mississippi River]
....3 Leaflets not oriented vertically; petioles (0-) 1-18 mm long [of prairies, glades, bluff tops, pastures, and roadsides west of the Mississippi River, IA and NE south through MO, KS, and OK to n. and w. AR and n. TX]
1 Flowers yellow, cream-white, or white.
......4 Flowers white or cream-white.
........5 Flowering pedicels 10-18 (-30) mm long, subtended by persistent bracts 10-25 mm long and 7-10 mm wide; flowers cream-white (to pale-yellow).
..........6 Petioles of median leaves 4-10 mm long
..........6 Petioles of median leaves 2-4 mm long.
............ 7 Leaves and stems glabrous; leaflets 1.5-2.5× as long as wide
............ 7 Leaves and stems pubescent; leaflets (1.5-) 2.5-5× as long as wide
........5 Flowering pedicels 3-10 mm long, subtended by caducous bracts 4-7 mm long and 1-2 mm wide; flowers white.
............ ..8 Calyx 4.5-6.5 mm long; corolla 13-16 (-18) mm long; petioles 5-10 (-20) mm long
............ ..8 Calyx 7-8 mm long; corolla 20-25 mm long; petioles (of the lower leaves at least) 10-20 mm long.
............ ....9 Legume usually 15-20 (-30) mm in diameter, thin-walled and brittle; [of NC south through GA to FL, AL, and MS]
............ ....9 Legume usually 10-12 (-15) mm in diameter, rigid and tough; [of c. TN, c. KY, AL, and MS westward]
......4 Flowers yellow.
............ ......10 Flowering pedicels 14-18 (-30) mm long, subtended by persistent bracts 10-25 mm long and 7-10 mm wide; flowers pale-yellow (to cream-white).
............ ........11 Petioles of median leaves 4-10 mm long
............ ........11 Petioles of median leaves 2-4 mm long.
............ ..........12 Leaves and stems glabrous; leaflets 1.5-2.5× as long as wide
............ ..........12 Leaves and stems pubescent; leaflets (1.5-) 2.5-5× as long as wide
............ ......10 Flowering pedicels 2-10 mm long, subtended by caducous bracts 2-10 mm long and 1-2 mm wide; flowers bright yellow.
............ ............ 13 Leaflets mostly 1-2.5 (-4) cm long, 1-2.5× as long as wide, the petiolules 0-1 mm long; corolla 12-16 mm long; racemes numerous, terminating most of the branches
............ ............ 13 Leaflets mostly 4-9 cm long, 1.5-4× as long as wide, the petiolules 2-10 mm long; corolla 20-28 mm long; racemes solitary (-3) or numerous.
............ ............ ..14 Inflorescences of racemes of (3-) 5-25 (or more) flowers; stipules persistent or caducous.
............ ............ ....15 Plant persistently cinereous-pubescent; stipules (some of them at least) persistent; plants blackening on drying
............ ............ ....15 Plant puberulent when young, soon glabrate to glabrous; stipules caducous; [of MS westward]; plants not blackening on drying
............ ............ ..14 Inflorescence either of solitary axillary flowers or flowers in clusters of 2-4 in axils or in terminal racemes of 2-4 (-10) flowers; stipules caducous.
............ ............ ......16 Petiolules 2-3 mm long; leaflets 1-2.5× as long as wide; [of LA, AR, TX, and OK]
............ ............ ......16 Petiolules 4-10 mm long; leaflets 1.7-5× as long as wide; [of SC, GA, FL, and AL].
............ ............ ........17 Leaflets 3-5× as long as wide, usually < 1.5 cm wide; flowers usually solitary or in clusters of 2-3; fruits broadly ellipsoid or subspheroidal, < 2× as long as wide; [se. SC south through GA Coastal Plain to ne. FL]
............ ............ ........17 Leaflets 1.7-3.2 (-5)× as long as wide, the larger typically > 2 cm wide; flowers in racemes of (1-) 3-10 flowers; fruits usually ellipsoid, often > 2× as long as wide; [FL Panhandle, s. AL, and c. peninsular FL]

Key B: fruiting Baptisia

1 Legume 5-11 mm in diameter.
..2 Legume cylindric, 20-30 (-35) mm long, 7-9 mm in diameter, yellow-brown, leathery in texture
..2 Legume globose or subspheroidal, 7-25 mm long, 5-11 mm in diameter, black, woody in texture.
....3 Leaflets mostly 1-2.5 (-4) cm long
....3 Leaflets 3.5-10 cm long.
......4 Leaflets 3-5× as long as wide, usually < 1.5 cm wide; infructescence nodes (fruits or aborted fruits) usually 1-3; fruits broadly ellipsoid or subspheroidal, <2× as long as wide; [se. SC south through GA Coastal Plain to ne. FL]
......4 Leaflets 1.7-3.2 (-5)× as long as wide, the larger typically > 2 cm wide; infructescence nodes (1-) 3-10; fruits usually ellipsoid, often > 2× as long as wide; [FL Panhandle, s. AL, and c. peninsular FL]
1 Legume 8-25 mm in diameter.
........5 Pod drying tan, thin-walled and brittle
........5 Pod drying black to blackish-brown, leathery or tough.
..........6 Stems puberulent (sometimes inconspicuously so) or villous.
............ 7 Legume (20-) 30-40 (-50) mm long, 15-25 mm in diameter; pedicels 14-18 (-30) mm long, subtended by persistent bracts10-25 mm long and 7-10 mm wide
............ ..8 Petioles of median leaves 4-10 mm long
............ ..8 Petioles of median leaves 2-4 mm long.
............ 7 Legume 10-35 mm long, 8-15 mm in diameter; pedicels 2-10 mm long, subtended by caducous bracts 2-10 mm long and 1-2 mm wide.
............ ....9 Petiolules 2-5 mm long; stipules (some of them at least) persistent
............ ....9 Petiolules 4-10 mm long; stipules caducous
..........6 Stems glabrous and generally glaucous as well {B. alba, B. leucantha, B. leucophaea var. laevicaulis, B. australis var. aberrans, B. australis var. australis}