New Mexico Wildflowers: Pea Family

(Fabaceae)

 

Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.


Beakpod Milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus)

Be warned: there are dozens of species of Astragalus in New Mexico, and dozens of varieties subsumed by this species. Any ID based solely on pictures, such as this one, should be considered very tentative.

 

Foxtail Prairie Clover (Dalea leporina)

My tentative identification of these plants as Dalea leporina is based in part on known distributions. The similar-looking D. albiflora doesn't extend into the Albuquerque area. 

 

 

Woolly Prairie Clover (Dalea Lanata)

 

Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

The signature feature of this tree is the wicked-looking thorns. Sometimes the thorns have thorns.

 

Everlasting Pea, Perennial Peavine (Lathyrus latifolius)

The lush vegetation at Carlito Springs Open Space, at the south end of the Sandias, includes this glamorous introduced species. The blooms range from bright purple to white. Unfortunately, the Open Space is closed for rebuilding.

 

White Peavine (Lathyrus leucanthus)

 

Lupine (Lupinus)

 

Black Medic (Medicago lupulina)

An introduced species, and in lawns easily mistaken for clover. Look for the small balls of tiny yellow flowers.

 

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

I was walking on a mowed lawn in a city park when I noticed "clover" plants, but with flowers that were too big and purple to be clover flowers. It seems that some alfalfa seeds got loose. Normally it grows to a height of a foot or more, but apparently it gets by just fine when repeatedly mowed. My ID is based on the purple pea-like flowers and three-part leaves whose ends are slightly serrated and slightly blunted. The butterfly in one of the photos is a Marine Blue. 

 

White Sweetclover (Melilotus albus)

 

Yellow Sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis)

 

Purple Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii)

 

James' Rushpea (Pomaria Jamesii)

 

Broom Dalea (Psorothamnus scoparius)

Near the Sunport I came across low bushes that looked like nothing but stems. When I looked more closely, the bushes had clusters of small purple pea-like flowers, plus a few leaves that were usually three-lobed. The stems and leaves were dotted with glands. 

 

New Mexico locust (Robinia neomexicana)

 

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

This non-native species is most easily distinguished from its New Mexico cousin by having white rather than pink flowers.

 

Alkali Swainsonpea (Sphaerophysa salsula)

This non-native species is often considered invasive. Like the Astragalus I show above, this species has inflated seed pods; unlike that Astragalus, the pods are rounded at the ends. I'll be back in the spring to look for the red flowers.

 

Golden Pea (Thermopsis montana)

A couple of the photos show the erect pea pods that result from these showy flowers. The pods start out bright green and turn dark.

 

White Clover (Trifolium repens)

Yes, the same stuff that's in lawns everywhere. But you might encounter it in the wild, so I've included it.

 

American Vetch (Vicia americana)

A clinging, climbing vine, with clusters of just a few purple flowers. On the closeup without my thumb and finger, you can see a tendril at the end of the leaf. The plant uses the tendrils to anchor itself.