Leguminosae (Fabaceae) - pea family
 

WeedsPoisonous PlantsHay Fever
Gerald A. Mulligan (Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, retired)
Click here to go to Weed Photos for this family

Amphicarpaea bracteata (L.) Fernald, hog-peanut, amphicarpe bracteolée
Its twining habit of grown often results in a tangle of vegetation. It occurs along the margins of streams, rivers, and lakes in the eastern half our area. It is often confused with poison-ivy. However, the herbaceous and twining stems of hog-peanut easily differentiate it from poison-ivy, a plant with woody and non-twining stems. Hog-peanut does not cause a dermatitis.

Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link-Scotch broom, genêt à balais
A perennial deciduous shrub growing to 4 meters (13 feet) tall. It was introduced as an ornamental shrub into this Continent from the Mediterranean Region in the early 1800s. Its subsequent use as a roadside soil stabilizer has greatly facilitated its establishment and spread. It has invaded many disturbed areas, often forming very dense thickets. It has caused considerable damage to native ecosystems and it is now a major problem in many plantings of conifer seedlings. Scotch broom occurs along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Georgia, and on the Pacific coast from southern British Columbia to California. It is now listed as a noxious weed in some jurisdictions. It has bright red flowers, about 2 cm (¾ inch) long, that are sometimes tinged with red or purple. Gorse (ajonc d'Europe), Ulex europaeus L., a shrub resembling Scotch broom in stature and flower color, often occurs in the same habitats as Scotch broom. However, gorse has spiny stems and flowers with a distinct coconut-like odour, These characters are absent in Scotch broom.

Lotus corniculatus L., bird’s-foot trefoil, lotier corniculé
Prostrate to semi-prostrate perennial; flowers yellow, often red-tinged. It is presently utilized throughout our area as a forage crop, and as an embankment stabilizer. Some populations have become naturalized and are becoming locally common in ditches, along roadsides, and in lawns and waste places.

Medicago lupulina L., black medick, lupuline
Annual or winter annual, reproducing by seeds; autogamous; mainly prostrate; flowers yellow; seeds black; throughout; cultivated fields, pastures, roadsides , and waste places; often forms solid stands along roadsides and in very stressed habitats in settlements; introduced from Europe.

Melilotus albus Medik., white sweet-clover, mélilot blanc
Annual spreading by seeds; flowering stems up to 8 feet (24 dm.) high; flowers white; throughout; roadsides and waste places; a very common fringe plant along roadsides in some areas; introduced from Europe. Sometimes grown for forage, as a cover crop, or for green manure.

Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pall., yellow sweet-clover, mélilot jaune
Annual, spreading by seeds; flowering stems up to 7 feet (21 dm.) high; flowers yellow; roadsides and waste places; a very common fringe plant along roadsides in some areas; introduced from Europe.

Securigera varia (L.) Lassen (=Coronilla varia L.), crown vetch, coronille bigarrée
Crown vetch is a low-growing vine that reproduces by seed and by vigorous rhizomes. It has fern-like leaves and a stalked head of 5 to 20 pink and white flowers. Crown vetch, a native of Europe and Asia, has been widely planted in the northern United States and Canada as a ground cover to protect against erosion and for soil rehabilitation. It has become naturalized as a weed in waste ground, disturbed sites, fields, roadsides, and along railroads. It is an invasive plant that has become a serious threat in many natural areas.

Trifolium pratense L., red clover, trèfle rouge
An introduced herbaceous perennial growing 20 to 80 cm (8 to 32 inches) tall. It has dark pink flowers and 3 leaflets; each leaflet with a characteristic pale crescent. Red clover has become naturalized throughout all of the United States and Canada. It is valued in agriculture as a forage crop and for its use as a means of nitrogen fixation.

Trifolium repens L., white clover, trèfle blanc
It is a low-growing perennial herb with fibrous roots and stems that root at the nodes. It was introduced into this Continent from Europe as a pasture crop. It is now naturalized throughout our area. It is an excellent food plant for livestock, and its whitish flowers are an important source of nectar for the production of honey. It is also a beneficial plant in many habitats because of its nitrogen-fixation capability. It does, however, become an invasive weed in some gardens, lawns, golf courses, orchards, and other habitats. It can withstand close grazing or mowing.

Vicia cracca L., tufted vetch, vesce jargeau
Perennial, frequently twining around other plants; spreading by seeds and rootstocks; allogamous; flowers purple to blue; throughout, but most common in the east; meadows, pastures, row crops, gardens, roadsides, and waste places; introduced from Europe.

Click on a photo to view an enlarged image.
Weed Name Photo Weed Name Photo
hog-peanut, amphicarpe bracteolée hog-peanut, amphicarpe bracteolée
(climbing)
hog-peanut, amphicarpe bracteolée
(2 leaves)
Scotch broom, genêt à balais
illustration from Köhler's Medicinal Plants
Scotch broom, genêt à balais
photo by Paul. A. Graham
bird’s-foot trefoil, lotier corniculé
bird’s-foot trefoil, lotier corniculé
(flowers close up)
bird’s-foot trefoil, lotier corniculé
(general view)
black medick, lupuline black medick, lupuline
(in fruit)
black medick, lupuline
(seedlings)
white sweet-clover, mélilot blanc
white sweet-clover, mélilot blanc
(flowers)
white sweet-clover, mélilot blanc
white sweet-clover, mélilot blanc white sweet-clover, mélilot blanc
(seedlings)
yellow sweet-clover, mélilot jaune
(flowers)
yellow sweet-clover, mélilot jaune
(in field)
yellow sweet-clover, mélilot jaune yellow sweet-clover, mélilot jaune
crown vetch, coronille bigarrée
(in flower)
crown vetch, coronille bigarrée
(in fruit)
crown vetch, coronille bigarrée
(plants)
crown vetch, coronille bigarrée
(plants)
red clover, trèfle rouge red clover, trèfle rouge
white clover, trèfle blanc white clover, trèfle blanc
white clover, trèfle blanc tufted vetch, vesce jargeau
tufted vetch, vesce jargeau tufted vetch, vesce jargeau
tufted vetch, vesce jargeau
(young plant)
tufted vetch, vesce jargeau
(3 seedlings)