Lotus wrightii is easily recognized by its upright growth habit and red and yellow flowers. It is a perennial with sessile, pubescent leaves that are palmately divided in to four to seven leaflets. Lotus wrightii is found in dry areas in lower to middle elevation.
Allred and Ivey 2012, Heil et al. 2012, McDougall 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, 12-60 cm tall, from a persistent caudex; stems several, erect to ascending, gray-strigose. Leaves: Alternate, shortly-petiolate, and palmately compound, with 3-6 leaflets per leaf; leaflets spatulate to oblong or linear, 2-22 mm long and 1-5 mm wide, strigose. Flowers: Yellow to reddish, solitary or in clusters of 2-3 in the leaf axils, sessile or nearly so; flowers 1.5 to 2 cm long, with pea-flower morphology (papilionoid); sepals 5, fused into a tube 3-4 mm long, topped with 5 subulate teeth, 3-4 mm long; corolla 10-15 mm long, yellow to orange, often suffused with red and fading reddish. Fruits: Pods narrowly oblong, 3 cm long and 2-3 mm wide, straight, and strigose; containing several seeds. Ecology: Found in pine forests, from 6,000-9,000 ft (1829-2743 m); flowers May-September. Distribution: CO, UT, NM, AZ, and CA. Notes: This perenninal Lotus is distinguished by its relatively tall, upright herbaceous stems from a slightly woody base; yellowish pea flowers suffused with red, which are sessile in the leaf axils; and nearly sessile palmately compound leaves. Distinguish from L. plebius based on the leaves, which in that species are pinnately compound (look closely at that species and you'll see at least one leaflet is attached a little lower on the stalk than the others); and the flowers which are on stalks at least 1 cm long (sessile in this species). Ethnobotany: Used ceremonially by the Navajo and Zuni. Etymology: Lotus comes from the Greek lotos, a plant name with diverse applications in ancient times; wrightii honors Charles Wright (1811-1885), American botanist and explorer of the southwestern United States. Editor: AHazelton 2017