Legumes in flower

You will notice that the Astragalus canadensis (Canadian milkvetch) is conspicuously absent from this post on native legumes. Fear not, I am gearing up for a post all of their own, hopefully soon. Some did not make the winter, but most braved the brutal cold and lived to tell the tale. But that’s a story for another day.

05082018 thermopsis
Thermopsis villosa. Blue Ridge buckbean, Carolina lupine, Aaron’s rod. Looking closely, the bud can be seen emerging from the tip of the stalk. This two-year old plant had at last ten budding stalks. Note the three-fingered leaf-hand to the left (and the smaller one to the right, alternate), extended as though to welcome the flower bud into the light of day.  May 8, 2018
05092018 amorpha 1
Amorpha fruticosa. False indigo bush. The leaves of this legume are less clover-like (or trifoliate), and more like the black locust (odd-pinnately compound). May 8, 2018
05092018 amorpha 2
Amorpha fruticosa. Flowers from the growing tip of the woody stalk. May 8, 2018.
05112018 amorpha 3
Just a few days later, Amorpha fruticosa in flower. Appreciated by some species of bumble bee. the pollen-bearing stamens, yellow, emerge from deep violet flowers, giving each inflorescence an iridescent sheen. May 11, 2018.

Baby plants in the Spring

Transplants for the garden and market: celery and Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo). Amorpha is another native. It is supposed to be a magnet for pollinators. We’ll see how well the honeybees like it. I’m also experimenting with the partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculate). The partridge pea does not do well on transplant – in future years, if I grow it again, there will be strictly one seed per cell, because I seem to have 100% germination with this, even though it is a 2016 seed. This is a fascinating little native legume that produces prolific yellow flowers, enjoyed by the bumble bee. A great annual, I somehow had some volunteers last spring, some of which died rather unexpectedly in midsummer.

20170403 amorpha measurement
There Amorpha seedlings are about a month old. They don’t appear to have root nodules. It is difficult to see, but the part of the stem that starts right above the soil and goes down to the roots, is thicker than the upper part of the stem. This appears to be a quality of many perennial legumes.
20170403 chamaechrista measure
Chamaecrista seedlings. A much quicker grower (it’s an annual plant, so no need for long-term investment). Many had nodules, but are not quite evident here.