Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Southern lobelia - Lobelia georgiana



Foliage in situ
Southern lobelia (Lobelia georgiana) seems to be a rather poorly described species based on the lack of unified descriptions of this species online.  While some sources list its natural range as occurring throughout much of the Southeastern Coastal Plain - Mississippi to Virginia, others list it as native only to 3 of these counties - Alabama, Georgia and Florida. in Florida, it has been vouchered from 10 central Panhandle counties with a disjunct population reported from Marion County. It seemingly has often been misidentified with other closely related species. In L. georgiana the lower lip of corolla is usually glabrous on upper surface near throat of corolla tube, but occasionally papillate or minutely pubescent (with very short hairs); calyx tube usually glabrous, rarely with a few scattered chaffy hairs, but often with a warty texture; corolla tube glabrous.  Regardless, throughout its range, it occurs most often in forested wetland habitats such as along riverine floodplains. 
This is a perennial wildflower that dies back to the ground in winter. Its basal leaves are similar to other members of this species. The simple flower stalks eventually reach 3-4 feet in height by late summer. The leaves are alternate on the stem and have entire margins or are shallowly toothed.  The deep blue to purple blooms are produced in fall. They are of greatest interest to bees for pollination.
I am not aware of this lobelia ever being offered for sale commercially. It would require conditions very similar to other wetland members of this genus.
The flower photo was taken by Lily Byrd and used with permission. The aspect photo at the bottom is credited to Mathew Mrizek and was posted to iNaturalist.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Striped gentian - Saponaria villosa


Striped gentian (Gentiana villosa) is Florida's most unique member of this beloved genus - having white to very pale blue striped flowers instead of the usual deep blue ones.  It is found in seven Panhandle counties in extreme north Florida, but is found in much of the Southeast Coastal Plain from Louisiana to Virginia and Maryland.  Throughout its range, it is most often encountered in open woodlands.

Although its Latin species name means "hairy", the foliage is decidedly glabrous.  The leaves are lanceolate but are typically wider above the middle of the leaf. The leaves are dark green and shiny. like other members of this genus, it is a perennial that dies back to the ground each winter and emerges again in early spring.  Mature plants can reach 2 feet in height.  The flowers buds are clustered at the top of the plant. Striped gentian typically blooms during the fall in late August to October. The flowers are pollinated mostly by bees that are attracted to their stripes and nectar. The seed capsules ripen during October to November. The seeds of G. villosa differ from other gentians because they are wingless.

Gentians have long been used medicinally by herbalists.  As one of its common names suggest  (Sampson's snakeroot), striped gentian is thought to aid in the relief of snakebites. In Appalachia, its roots are carried as a charm. The Catawba Indians used the boiled roots as medicine to relieve back pain. 

Despite the charm and utility of gentians, few are ever offered commercially and none are available from nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  This is regrettable and so this species and its relatives must solely be admired when encountered in the fall when hiking in  their preferred habitat.  Do not be tempted to collect it.

These photos were taken by Helen Roth and used by permission. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Grassleaf blazing star - Liatris elegantula

Grassleaf (Shaggy) blazing star (Liatris elegantula) is an upland member of this decidedly abundant Florida genus, common to sandhill and xeric oak uplands in most of the north Florida counties and south along the Gulf Coast to Citrus County.  It also has been vouchered from nearly all of Georgia and Alabama and is reported from a few counties in extreme eastern Mississippi.  This, like nearly every member of this genus, is a perennial herbaceous species that dies back to the ground in late fall and reemerges again in spring. It is reported to prefer moist, but well-drained soils.

The leaves are simple and nearly linear, alternate along the stem and are without the "hairs" found in many other species such as L. savannensis and L. gracilis.  The simple flowering stalk reaches its mature height of about 3 feet by August and the blooms open from the top of the stalk downwards for the next 2-3 weeks.  The flower buds are sessile (without a stalk) and are slightly hairy.  Like most members of this genus, the flowers are lavender and attract the attention of a great diversity of pollinators.  

Florida is home to 19 species of blazing stars, but only a few are grown commercially by native plant nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. Grassleaf blazing star is one of the many that I have not seen offered.  Blazing stars are easy to propagate from mature seed collected in late fall and sown immediately just below the soil surface in flats.  As all blazing stars are beautiful additions to a pollinator garden, more species, like this one, should be made available in the future.

These photos were taken by my friend, Lily Byrd, and shared by permission.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Calico aster - Symphyotrichum laterifolium

Calico aster (Symphyotrichum laterifolium) is a common aster native to much of north Florida and the Panhandle in partly sunny locations within deciduous woodlands and roadsides.  It also has been vouchered in every state east of the Mississippi River as well as a line from east Texas to the Dakotas and all of the Canadian provinces from the Atlantic to Manitoba.  Throughout this extensive range, it occurs in sandy to moist habitats, often in partial sun.  

Like most true asters in this genus, calico aster is a perennial wildflower that dies back in the winter and reemerges in the spring.  It produces a basal cluster of ovate leaves with dentate margins.  Multiple stems emerge and reach a mature height of 3-4 feet in the early fall.  The stem leaves are elliptical and numerous. The mostly hairless leaves have a characteristic hairy midrib on their back faces, and branching is usually horizontal or in what can appear to be a zigzag pattern. 

Flowering occurs in late summer to mid-fall.  The flowers of calico aster are small compared to most Symphyotrichum species. They have an average of 7–15 short white ray florets which are rarely tinted pink or purple. The disc flower centers begin as cream to yellow and often become pink, purple, or brown as they mature. There are roughly 8–16 disk florets, each with five lobes that strongly reflex (bend backwards) when open. Like other members of this genus, these blooms attract a wide variety of pollinators.

Calico aster is one of the asters that forms extensive colonies over time which may be one reason why it is so rarely propagated by native plant nurseries in Florida. It makes an excellent ground cover for open areas of a landscape, but does not play well in a smaller pollinator garden where diversity is desired. It is one of the asters that I have added lately to what I am growing at Hawthorn Hill.


Simmonds' aster - Symphyotrichum simmondsii

Simmonds' aster (Symphyotrichum simmondsii) is widely distributed in Florida and has been vouchered in nearly every county from the far western Panhandle to Miami-Dade.  Throughout its range, it is most common in open habitats with moist to well-drained soils.  Although it occurs throughout Florida, it is reported only from North and South Carolina outside of our state.

Despite its wide range in Florida, it has been virtually ignored by all of the current wildflower books and other publications in print.  It is a perennial forb that dies to the ground each winter and reemerges in early spring.  It reaches a mature height of 3-4 feet by late summer and the stems are rigid and semi-woody in nature. This is one of the aster species that suckers extensively and forms colonies over time.  The linear slightly recurved leaves alternate on the stems.  They are glabrous and clasp the stem without a defined petiole (sessile).  Each plant produces multiple stems.

Flowering occurs in the late fall to early winter.  The buds are produced at each of the leaf axils along the stem.  Each flower head is about 1 inch across. The petals are light lavender to purplish in color and may contain as many as 3 dozen narrow petals surrounding the yellow disc flowers in the center.  Like all members of this genus, they blooms are especially attractive to pollinators and it is likely that it serves as a host plant for the pearl crescent butterfly.

I am not aware of any native nursery offering Simmonds' aster for sale. It would make an excellent addition to an expansive planting area where it could sucker and form a large area of color and pollination services. It would not be appropriate for smaller areas of mixed wildflowers as it would overwhelm many of the other species over time. Although I have never grown it, it should be easy from ripe seed harvested in early winter.

The above photos were taken by Steve Coleman and are used with permission.

Barrens Silky Aster - Symphyotrichum pratense

Barrens silky aster (Symphyotrichum pratense) is not recorded as a native plant on the University of South Florida's ISB website, but it should be as it is recorded in Florida by a number of sources and occurs throughout the Southeast Coastal Plain from east Texas to Virginia and north from Arkansas to Tennessee and Kentucky.   The confusion may lie in the fact that it is often combined with western silver aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum) and considered to be a variety of it.  There are distinct differences, however.  Barrens silky aster is distinguished from S. sericeum by its much less densely hairy leaves and phyllaries, which are much larger and broadly ovate.  Their ranges overlap to a great extent.

Barrens silky aster occurs in a variety of sandy well-drained habitats from soils high in clay to loam and sand - including calcareous glades. The photos above were taken in such a habitat by my friend Lily Byrd and used by permission.  It is a perennial that dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges in early spring.  Barrens silky aster does not sucker aggressively as some in this genus. The singular stems reach a mature length of 2-3 feet by late summer.  They are sparsely hairy.  The ovoid leaves alternate on the stem and clasp it.  Like western silver aster, they appear silvery from a distance because of their short hairs - especially on the leaf margins.  

Like many asters, the rich lavender purple flowers appear in mid- to late-fall and occur at the ends of the stems. Each bloom is about 1 inch across.  They are visited by a wide variety of bees.

I am not aware of any native plant nursery in Florida or elsewhere within its range that currently offers barrens silky aster for sale.  Hopefully, this will change as awareness of the importance of asters to a pollinator garden increases.  If I can locate a source for seed, I would certainly add it to what I propagate at Hawthorn Hill.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Bladder Mallow (Herissantia crispa)

Bladder mallow (Herissantia crispa) is an upland member of the hibiscus family, found primarily in south Florida hammocks and pinelands, but it has also been vouchered from Hillsborough County along the west-central coast and in Brevard County in the east-central portion of peninsular Florida. It has a wide distribution worldwide and is reported from Texas to California in the western US, from Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America. It also has been introduced to parts of Asia and Australia.

Bladder mallow is a short-lived perennial that produces large numbers of seed in its bladder-like pods. It is an evergreen plant and reaches a mature height of about 3 feet.  The heart-shaped leaves alternate up these stems and average about 1-2 inches long and 1 inch across.  There are small teeth along the leaf margins and the surface of the leaves are velvety to the touch.

Flowering can occur at any time during the year. the small (about 1/2 inch across) pale yellow flowers have 5 petals and a pronounced set of female and male flower parts - as all hibiscus do.  Though rather small, they are attractive and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. It also is a host plant for 2 species of hairstreaks - the gray and the mallow scrub. 

Bladder mallow is not as showy as many other members of this genus and that may be the reason it has not been offered for sale by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries or by other growers to my knowledge.  It could be a useful addition to a butterfly or pollinator garden if it was.  It should be easy to propagate from seed collected from the ripe capsules.  Although it is mostly a coastal species it is not very particular to its growing conditions.  

The above photos were taken by my friend and naturalist - Lily Byrd in south Florida, and are used by permission. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Bayean - Canavalia rosea

 Baybean (Canavalia rosea) is a member of the legume family and found in coastal habitats from extreme south Florida, north to Dixie County on the west coast and Volusia County on the east.  It also occurs in coastal counties west of Florida - from Alabama to Texas.  It is a mat-forming perennial vine that spreads outward from its main stem for distances as great as 50 feet. It also can climb up on neighboring vegetation and reach heights several feet above ground.

Like many legumes, it has compound leaves; in this case in groups of three.  Each is rounded in shape, up to 4 inches long, nearly 3 inches wide, and leathery in texture.  This is an evergreen plant.  Flowering can occur during any month.  The large bright-pink flowers occur axillary to the stems.  Each is 6 inches long and at least 1 inch wide.  The upper petals form a distinct hood that arches over the reproductive structures while the lower fused petals form a distinct lip. These are marked in yellow and white and serve to direct pollinators - especially large bees.

Baybean can make a useful ground cover for large coastal dunes as the sprawling evergreen stems serve to reduce erosion. It is not a good choice, however, for smaller settings or for mixed plantings as it is quite aggressive. The leaves are edible, but the seeds are toxic. This plant is sometimes offered commercially by native plant nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Rosepink - Sabatia angularis

Rosepink (Sabatia angularis) is an annual (sometimes a biennial within its geographic range) that is found in only 7 counties within the central-western Panhandle region of Florida. It is common, however, in states north and west of us - occurring from east Texas north to Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Throughout its range, it occurs most commonly in deciduous moist woodland understories where it gets filtered sun throughout the growing season.  

As a biennial/annual it flowers once and reseeds. It is reported to do so easily in a landscape, but I have no experience with that.  Emergence from the seedbank occurs in spring and the plants reach their adult height of 2-3 feet by summer.  A dense basal rosette shiny oval leaves is quickly formed and the stalkless leaves are opposite along the stems.  Each is about 1 inch long.  Plants produce multiple stems and they are conspicuously 4-angled; a trait that gives it its name.

Flowering occurs atop these stems in early summer and may last into September.  Each flower is about 1 inch across and they occur in flat-toped cymes. They are a rich pink in color, fragrant, and with a yellow center.  Like other members of this genus, urn-shaped seed capsules are produced after pollination and each is filled with a great many seeds.

I have never seen this species offered for sale by any of the native plant nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, but seeds are often offered by nurseries outside of Florida. It is reputed to self sow in a garden setting, but as an annual it would require a setting without a great amount of mulch to do so.  It requires moist soil and partial sun. If given more sun, it would need higher soil moisture. Its rich color and fragrance make it an excellent garden subject in the right setting - in fact, it was selected as the North Carolina Wildflower of the Year in 2020 through a program managed by the NC Botanical Garden.

The photos above were taken by my friend, Lily Byrd, and are used by permission.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Prairie iris - Iris savannarum


Prairie iris (Iris savannarum) is the most common native iris species in Florida - found nearly statewide except in the western Panhandle counties.  Despite its common nature to Florida, it is quite rare elsewhere and is documented only in a few counties in Georgia and Alabama.  All of our native irises are wetland species and prairie iris is found at the edges of freshwater lakes and streams, often partially submerged in water 6-8 inches deep.  

Prairie iris tends to maintain its succulent sword-like leaves in the southern part of its range, but becomes dormant elsewhere in winter. These leaves eventually reach a mature height of about 2-3 feet by late spring. Irises spread easily by underground almost-woody rhizomes and this species, in particular, forms large colonies over time in suitable habitat.  It, therefore, makes an excellent ground cover for pond and lake edges to reduce erosion and nutrient loading.

The deep-blue flowers are produced on single stalks above the foliage in spring - mostly March-April. The large showy blooms are composed of 3 sepals with a yellowish blaze at their base and three smaller petals above them. The flowers are pollinated mostly by bees. A six-sided seed capsule results after pollination and gives this plant is Latin species name.

Prairie iris is commonly propagated by native-plant nurseries in Florida and are easy to locate. Because this species spreads so easily, only a few will eventually form a large showy mass over a few years. It will do well in sun or partial shade, but it needs to be grown in wet areas that become shallowly inundated during the wet season.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Savannah Iris - Iris tridentata

 Savannah iris (Iris tridentata) is a little-known member of this widely cultivated genus.  It is native to boggy freshwater wetlands in eight counties in the central Florida panhandle as well as Duval County in northeastern Florida. It also has been documented in the coastal counties of Georgia, the two Carolinas as well as one county in extreme southwestern Mississippi.  Records occur from Tennessee. It is common in the few regions it occurs in naturally as it suckers aggressively by its underground rhizomes. It prefers the semi-shade of boggy areas at the edge of more forested habitats.

Savannah iris is a perennial species that dies completely back to the ground each winter. It reemerges in the spring and reaches a mature height of about 2 feet. Unlike some close relatives, it continues to grow a bit during the heat of summer. The foliage and general aspect are similar to other more common native members of this genus. 

Flowering occurs in late spring to summer on stalks that rise nearly 1 foot above the basal leaves. Like our other native irises, its petal-like sepals are lavender blue with a bright yellow marking near their base.  The three petals are significantly reduced in size making them almost hidden. This gives it its Latin name meaning "three teeth".

Savannah iris would make a wonderful addition to a boggy landscape near the edge of a lake or pond. It is reported that it can withstand some drought if not placed in a sufficiently wet area, but it won't perform properly in that environment.  In a small bog garden, it may spread too aggressively so it is probably best used by itself or confined to a pot. I have never seen it offered for sale in Florida by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries,  but it is sometimes available through native nurseries in other states within its range. 

These photos, including the amazing shot of a male ruby-throated hummingbird resting on a flower, were taken by my friend, Lily Byrd, and are used by permission.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Rosemary Frostweed - Crocanthemum rosmarinifolium


Rosemary frostweed (Crocanthemum rosemarinifolium) is one of six native species found in Florida.  It occurs primarily in the central Panhandle, but there are documented occurrences in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in the far west and in Putnam County in the northeastern peninsula.  Outside of Florida, it is documented in the Southeast Coastal Plain from east Texas to North Carolina. Throughout this region it occurs primarily in well-drained sunny locations - roadsides, sandhills and open dry woodlands.

This is a perennial herbaceous wildflower that dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges in early spring.  It produces many decidedly upright stems that reach a mature height of about 1 foot. As this plant produces numerous below-ground stems, it tends to form distinct colonies.  Short stellate hairs along the stem and on the foliage give it a silvery aspect. The lance-shaped linear leaves are alternate on the stem and about 1/4 inch wide.  In a sense, they resemble the foliage on culinary rosemary, but these leaves have no culinary usage.

Flowering occurs in late spring and summer. The lemon-yellow blooms are produced near the tips of the stems, are composed of five petals, and combine to make a flower approximately 1/3 inch across. These showy blooms are visited by a wide variety of pollinators.

This genus is very rarely offered commercially and I have never seen this species for sale.  Frostweeds make excellent ground covers for open sunny locations as they all sucker extensively, but are not overwhelming to adjacent plants in a mixed planting.  Perhaps, someday...

The photos above were taken by my friend and excellent photographer, Floyd Griffith, and used by permission.

Carolina Indigo - Indigofera caroliniana

Carolina indigo (Indigofera caroliniana) is found statewide and in much of the Southeast Coastal Plain from Louisiana to North Carolina.  It is a member of the genus that contains true indigo - used for generations by peoples as a dye plant.  Carolina indigo was used sparingly by early European colonists in this way Most members of this genus are not native to Florida, but Carolina indigo is native to a wide variety of xeric upland sites - especially those that have been subjected to some soil disturbance.  

This is an herbaceous perennial that dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges in the early spring.  Its basal stems become slightly woody. Eventually it reaches its mature height of 3-6 feet in early summer. The plants are rounded in aspect and may be 2-3 feet wide. Like many legumes, it has compound leaves. Each is composed of numerous rounded elliptical leaflets.  

Flowering occurs in early summer on short flower stalks that occur along the many stems. Each stalk produces up to a dozen salmon-colored blossoms with a typical legume structure - a fused lower lip and an upright keel above.  Each flower is only about 1/3 inch long and is pollinated mostly by bees.  Carolina indigo serves as a host for the Ceraunus blue and the Zarucco duskywing butterfly. As such, it is a useful addition to a butterfly/pollinator garden.  It also serves as a soil nitrogen fixer.

Though this widely distributed wildflower has many attributes to warrant its addition to the home landscape, I am not aware of it ever being propagated by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  I have not found it offered outside of Florida either.  Carolina indigo can be propagated by seed, but germination is improved greatly by scarifying the hard seed coat - either by physically nicking it or by pouring hot water over them.  It also sometimes suckers and these can be moved.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Buckroot - Pediomelum canscens

Buckroot (aka Eastern prairie-turnip) (Pediomelum canescens) is a perennial wildflower that occurs widely throughout north and central Florida in sandhill habitats.  It is not uncommon here in Florida, but is much less so north of us. An endemic of the Southeastern Coastal Plain, it is vouchered in southern Alabama and Georgia as well as in scattered locations in the Carolinas. A tiny population in Virginia is considered to be critically imperiled.

Buckroot is a member of the legume family and closely related to Baptisia - wild indigos.  Unlike them, however, buckroot is not widely known and almost never available in the commercial horticultural trade.  Buckroot dies back to the ground each winter and reemerges from its substantial taproot in the early spring.  It gets to be a substantial plant once it reaches its mature size.  Specimens often reach a height of 2.5 feet and a width equally as great.  It forms a great many stout branches. The leaves are mostly alternate on these stems and occur singly or are palmately compound in groups of three. They are noticeably covered by fine hairs.

Flowering occurs at the tips of the stems in late spring to early summer. They are typical of other legumes in terms of their structure and a dull blue-violet in color, though the upper petal is straw-colored on its upper surface.  Like most other legumes of this type, I suspect it is pollinated mostly by bees.

Buckroot was used by Native Americans and early colonists as a food source, as its other common name implies. The thick taproot was used as a vegetable. It is not recorded as being a host plant for any lepidopteran, but it may be one for some of those that use a wide variety of legumes.

These photographs were taken by my friend, Trudy Kenderdine, and used by permission.

Sampson's Snakeroot - Orbexilum pedunculatum/Orbexilum psoralioides

Sampson's snakeroot (Orbexilum pedunculatum) is split into two species by some taxonomists.  Plants that are eglandular are sometimes considered to be O. psoralioides while others with glands are referred to as O. pedunculatum.  For the purposes of this blog, I will lump them.  Sampson's snakeroot occurs in open pinelands and woodlands with well-drained soil and prefers partial shade. It occurs in a cluster of Florida counties in the central Panhandle as well as Holmes and Clay Counties - also in extreme north Florida. It is widely distributed outside of Florida, however, and is reported throughout the Southeast and Midwestern states.

Like its close relative, O. lupinellus, which I've recently written about, Sampson's snakeroot is a perennial wildflower in the legume family. It is easily distinguished from its close cousin by the shape of its compound leaves. Unlike the wiry looking palmately compound foliage of O. lupinellus, the leaves of Sampson's snakeroot are 3-parted and each of the leaflets is elliptical and decidedly pointed. It dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges again in early spring - eventually reaching a mature height of 2-3 feet on thin stems.  

During much of the year, it is difficult to see in the understory, but this changes with the appearance of its rich purple blooms. Flowering is most common from late May into early July.  Dense clusters, 1-2 inches long, are borne on terminal spikes.  Each flower is marked by deeper purple streaks in the throat.  Although I do not have personal experience watching this plant in nature, it is likely pollinated by bees - much the same way that most legumes are.

Despite its beautiful flowers and interesting foliage, I am not aware of any native plant nursery associated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, offering it for sale. It is reported as being available by nurseries outside of Florida within its extended natural range, however. How such plants would fare in Florida is anyone's guess. If you have experience, I welcome you to share it in the comments for this species. 

These photos were taken by my friend, Lily Byrd, and used by permission.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Piedmont Leatherroot/ Lupine Scurf Pea - Orbexilum lupinellus


Piedmont leatherroot (Orbexilum lupinellus) is a member of the legume family and one of three species native to Florida. These are easily overlooked in the understory when not in bloom, but their exquisite flowers cannot be ignored during their brief flowering period from May to early July.  It is a perennial herbaceous plant that dies back to its deep taproot in the winter and reemerges again in early spring. 

As its common name suggests, Piedmont leatherroot, occurs in the Piedmont region of the Southeastern US, though it is generally rare outside of Florida. There are scattered occurrences of this plant in Alabama and Georgia, north to North Carolina.  Throughout this range, it is confined to well-drained sandy soils of open woodlands and sandhills. In Florida, it occurs in much of north Florida, south to Hillsborough and Polk Counties.

The foliage of this species is unmistakable.  It forms a mass of very thin stems that can reach a mature height or length of 4 feet.  Often, mature plants fall over a bit and form more of a mass of stems than a completely upright plant.  The leaves are exceedingly thin and about 1-2 inches long. They are divided into 5-7 palmately dissected leaflets and this gives the plant a very busy aspect.

Flower stalks arise several inches above the ends of the stems. Individual flowers are typical of most legumes in terms of structure. They are a rich purple in color with a deeper purple throat, but only about 1/4 inch long.  A small "pea pod" fruit is formed following pollination. That is likely facilitated by small bees.

The genus Orbexilum contains some very attractive species, but none have been propagated commercially by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries; perhaps because the flowers are diminutive. The genus also is reported to be a poor fixer of nitrogen compared to most legumes.  Look for this species in the late spring if you are in a sandhill or in xeric open woodlands.  You may easily miss it at other times. 

These photos were taken by my friend, Alex de la Paz and are used by permission.