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Wright's Deer-vetch Lotus wrightii


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Wright's Deer-vetch - flower
credit: Jerrry Oldenettel/CCSA

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Alternate name: Wright's Trefoil, Scrub Bird's-foot Trefoil

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description A dark green to gray green plant with several stems, erect or prostrate, and deep yellow flowers on slender stalks growing from leaf axils.
Habit: native perennial herb.
Height: 8-16 in (20-40 cm).
Leaf: alternate, palmately compound, stalkless; 3-7 leaflets, very narrow, 0.25-0.5 in (6-12 mm) long; appearing as small, separate, whorled leaves.
Flower: yellow to orange to red,
Fruit: long slender pod, red, 1 in (2.5 cm) long.

Flower April to August.

Habitat Open rocky slopes, forest openings mainly among pinon and juniper, open woodlands, meadows.

Range Southeastern California to southern Utah and Colorado; south to New Mexico and Arizona.

Discussion Also called Wright's trefoil, scrub bird's foot trefoil. The latin names Lotus argyraeus and Acmispon argyraeus are also used. Wrights Deer-vetch is a favored browse for deer and domestic livestock. Like many species of the pea family, it has an intricate method of pollination that generally requires the aid of insects.