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Acmispon maritimus
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Coastal Lotus
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Acmispon maritimus

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About Coastal Lotus (Acmispon maritimus) Lotus salsuginosus is a species of legume known by the common name coastal bird's-foot trefoil. It is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it grows in many types of mountain, desert, and scrub habitat, not necessarily near the coast. It is an annual herb quite variable in morphology, from petite to bushy, hairless to roughly hairy, and prostrate to erect in form. The slender stems are lined with leaves each made up of pairs of leaflets variable in shape and size. The flower cluster is a small array of 1 to 4 yellow flowers, each up to a centimeter long or so. The elongated flower corolla emerges from a tubular calyx of sepals. The fruit is a legume pod up to 3 centimeters long. Laboratory studies have shown this species, which occurs in wildfire-prone habitat such as chaparral, to have an increased rate of seed germination after exposure to heat.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
0.16 - 1.6 ft (0.05 - 0.49 m)

Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Washes, deserts and talus

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-3814' - 3894'

Annual Precip. ?
3.1" - 40.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 1.69"

Coldest Month ?
39.9° F - 62.7° F

Hottest Month ?
62.6° F - 88.3° F

Humidity ?
0.64 vpd - 42.46 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Coastal Bird's-foot Trefoil

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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