Perennial, Shrubs, Herbs, Stems woody below, or from woody crown or caudex, Taproot present, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems or branches arching, spreading or decumbent, Stems less than 1 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs sparsely to densely hairy, Stems with hooked uncinate hairs or prickles, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules conspicuous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves compound, Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate, Leaves odd pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets opposite, Stipels present at base of leaflets, Leaflets 3, Leaves hairy on one or both surfaces, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescence axillary, Inflorescence terminal, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Bracteoles present, Flow ers zygomorphic, Calyx 2-lipped or 2-lobed, Calyx hairy, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals blue, lavander to purple, or violet, Banner petal ovoid or obovate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens diadelphous, 9 united, 1 free, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a loment, jointed, separating into articles, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit indehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit compressed between seeds, Fruit hairy, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seeds reniform, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Stems erect to prostrate, herbs or small shrubs with a woody caudex. Leaves: Trifoliate leaves, leaflets obtuse, the terminal one 2 to 3 times as long as wide, oblong, ovate, or obovate, lower leaves with petioles 1.5 cm long or longer, bright green with reticulate veins. Flowers: In terminal or axillary racemes, simple or compound, corolla purple, pink, or white, bracts not conspicuously overlapping, subulate to narrowly lanceolate. Fruits: Flat loments with several single seeded segments, indehiscent, hairs of the fruits not hooked. Ecology: Found on dry soils in open areas and on slopes from 4,000-6,000 ft (1219-1829 m); flowering August-September. Notes: The keys to this species are the subulate (awl-shaped) to narrowly lanceolate bracts which are not overlapping, the long petioles of the lower leaflets (to 1.5 cm long), and the straight hairs of the loments. The loments have easily visible reticulate venation, and the leaves of this species are generally a bit larger than the usual Desmodium. This and D. batocaulon are the only two species with sparsely pubescent, long stipitate fruits with oval, untwisted segments. Ethnobotany: There is no specific use recorded for this species, however the genus was used as an infusion to treat vomiting and colds and as a wash for sores. Etymology: Desmodium is from the Greek desmos for chain, which is a reference to the jointed seed pods, while cinerascens means becoming gray. Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011