Fabaceae Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Family: Fabaceae (A Utah Flora – Leguminosae) – Pea Family

Perennial herbs; 1.3' to 3.9' (4 to 12 dm) tall

Leaves: alternate; compound, pinnate; has hairs on underside of leaf; 3.2” to 7.6” (8 to 19 cm) long; 13 to 19 leaflets, leaflet 0.32” to 2.12” (8 to 53 mm) long, 0.12” to 0.6” (3 to 15 mm) wide

Flowers: 5 white to cream petals (a banner, 2 wings and 2 keels – the keel shorter than the wings); 5 toothed sepals; 10 stamens; 1 pistil; flowers 0.36” to 0.52” (9.1 to 13 mm) long

Pollinators: insects

Fruits: legume

Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: riparian areas, seeps, desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: Delicate Arch Viewpoint

Other: The genus name, “Glycyrrhiza”, is from the Greek “glykos” which means “sweet” and “rhiza” which means “root” referring to the sweet flavor of the roasted roots (commercial licorice comes from this genus). The species name, “lepidota”, means “scaly” referring to the brown scales of the leaves.

This family is ranked second to grasses in importance to people because species can fix nitrogen. However, some species, e.g., locoweeds and milkvetches, are poisonous due to selenium abstracted from the soil.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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