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Sampson's Snakeroot, False Scurf-pea - Orbexilum pedunculatum


Family: Fabaceae - Pea family Genus Common Name: Leather-root Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Orbexilum pedunculatum - Sampson's Snakeroot, False Scurf-pea. This plant can be easily identified as a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) based on the flowers and leaves, but the seedpod is circular rather than the long peapod fruit we normally expect from Fabaceae. It is a plant primarily of the southeastern United States, although itís range extends northward into Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan.

Found in:
AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA

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Orbexilum pedunculatum

Distribution of Orbexilum pedunculatum in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 15 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-07Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The shapes of the inflorescence and individual purplish pink flowers allow the plant to be easily identified as belonging to Fabaceae.
Orbexilum pedunculatum

Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The inflorescence of Orbexilum pedunculatum is on a long peduncle (thus the species epithet) up to 6 inches long, holding the inflorescence well above the leaves. The similar species Orbexilum onobrychis has a shorter peduncle, carrying the inflorescence barely above the leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Orbexilum pedunculatum

Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Sampsonís Snakeroot are alternate. They are pinnately trifoliate, with longer and narrower leaflets than those of similar Sainfoin (Orbexilum onobrychis). The leaflets of O. onobrychis are also acuminate, while those of O. pedunculatum have blunt tips. The lateral leaflets are nearly sessile, while the terminal leaflet is on a long petiolule (petiole, but for a leaflet rather than leaf.)
Click on the photo for a larger image
Orbexilum pedunculatum

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer