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Research in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Eastern Sonora, Mexico:

Legumes of Yécora

Photos by T.R. Van Devender unless otherwise credited

Left and above: Coralbean or chilicote (Erythrina flabelliformis) has scarlet flowers in June followed by pods with large red seeds. At higher elevations in oak woodland the same species is a frost-pruned shrub clinging to rocks on sunny slopes. Its range extends to north of Tucson, Arizona. Trees form a distinctive bark with large woody thorns.
Legumes are more numerous in the tropical lowlands than in the Sierra.

Photo of flowers: S.A. Meyer.


There are nine species of Mimosa in the Yécora area. They are variously called wait-a-minute bush, uña de gato (catclaw), gatuñ, or chopo (M. palmeri). Mimosa dysocarpa pictured here is common in open oak woodland. Photo: R. W. Van Devender.

Kidney wood or palo dulce (Eysenhardtia polystachya) is a white-flowered legume that also changes from a tree in the tropical lowlands to a shrub in the Madrean woodlands.

Many legumes are herbs. This deer vetch (Lotus alamosanus) is common in moist soil near streams in pine-oak forest in the Yécora area. The only population in the United States is in Sycamore Canyon west of Nogales, Arizona.

A new, undescribed species of deer vetch in the Yécora area (Lotus sp. nov.)