small Indian breadroot, more...
[Pediomelum pentaphyllum var. subulatum (Bush) J.W. Grimes, more]
Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougal 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Herbaceous perennials, stems 20-30 cm tall, scapose, erect to decumbent, herbage glandular-punctate and conspicuously pubescent, (less so apically) the gray hairs appressed to spreading, plants arising from a thick tuber-like taproot. Leaves: Alternate, digitately 5-6 foliolate, leaflets lanceolate, rhombic, or ovate, 2-5 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm wide, apex rounded to mucronate, margins entire to serrulate, sometimes appearing crisped and cupping upwards, densely hairy beneath, petioles 8-15 cm long, stipules scarious, lanceolate to linear, to 15 mm long. Flowers: With cream to light purple banners and deep purple keels, 12-18 mm long, calyx 4-5 mm long, lobes 10-22 mm long, enlarging considerably in fruit, very unequal, the upper 4 linear subulate, the lower 1 elliptic, about 3 mm wide in flower and to 7 mm in fruit; lower calyx lobe (in fruit glabrate) sparsely punctuate, with 3 prominent veins, inflorescences of dense, soft-hairy racemes, these globose to elongate, to 6 cm long, borne axillary or terminal. Fruits: Pods small, ovoid, indehiscent, 7-8 mm long, beak of fruit stout, flat, broad, 10-15 mm long, projecting somewhat beyond the calyx lobes. Seeds large, rather thick and of uniform thickness, markedly reticulate. Ecology: This species is extremely rare, found on sandy or gravelly soils in mesquite or yucca grassland communities and creosote-bush scrublands, from 3,500-6,500 ft (1067-1981 m); Flowering April-August. Distribution: Arizona, New Mexico Ethnobotany: This plant has been used by the Tarahumara people to reduce fever. Synonyms: Lotodes pentaphyllum (L.) Kuntze; Psoralea pentaphyllum L. Editor: LCrumbacher 2011 Etymology: Pediomelum comes from the Greek for "plain apple", while the meaning of pentaphyllum is unknown.