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General: Pea Family (Fabaceae). This upright, deciduous shrub or tree reaches up to 10 m in height. It has gnarled, shaggy multiple trunks and forms a round spreading crown. The ascending branches have pairs of spines that are 4-12 mm long. The compound leaves are hairy and measure 2-6 cm long, with as many as eighteen tiny leaflets per leaf. The leaflets are arranged on the two-branched prongs of a Y-shaped leaf stem. The yellow flowers have fused petals and are in a raceme, 4-8 cm. and spikelike. The dark tan fruit is tightly coiled, 3-5 cm and appears in pod clusters of 2 to 15. The pods are persistent and often exit holes can be seen on each pod, evidence that tiny bruchid beetles have deposited their nurseries inside. The tan seeds are very small, about 3 mm. The pollen of screwbean is toxic to honeybees. The plants crown-sprout after injury to the trunk or after cutting.


Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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