Strophostyles leiosperma (Trailing Pea)
|Also known as:||Slick-seed Fuzzybean, Small Fuzzy-bean, Smooth-seed Wild Bean|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry or moist sandy soil, upland woods, lake shores|
|Bloom season:||August - September|
|Plant height:||12 to 30 inch vine|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Cluster of 2 to 6 pink pea-shaped flowers on a slender hairy stalk arising from a leaf axil, the flower stalk longer than the adjoining leaf stalk. Only 1 or 2 flowers open at the same time, a cluster having both developing buds and mature pods present at the same time. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch wide, the upper petal (standard) with a decorative eyespot at the base, the lateral wings below it curve down and up along side the lower keel, which has a dark purplish horn-like projection much resembling that of a rhinocerus.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound in groups of 3, on a slender hairy stalk. Leaflets are ¾ to 1½ inches long, ¼ to ½ inch wide, oblong to lance elliptic, rounded at the base but more tapered at the tip, toothless, sparsely hairy to hairless. The middle leaflet is stalked, laterals stalkless. Stems are slender and twining, covered in short fine hairs.
Neither Trailing Pea or the closely related Wild Bean (Strophostyles helvola) are frequently encountered in general and when you do run across them it's likely just a random plant here or there. On the site where I've encountered this species its appearance from year to year is widely scattered over the area.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes, Anoka county.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?