Tiny Sweetvetch
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Tiny Sweetvetch
P Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Tiny Sweetvetch • Malayalam: നീര പുല്ലരീ Nir-pullari
Botanical name: Pycnospora lutescens    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Crotalaria nervosa, Hedysarum lutescens, Indigofera desmodioides

Tiny Sweetvetch is a trailing herb, 15-60 cm long. Flowers are borne in 2-5-flowered racemes at branch-ends. Calyx is minute, sepals deeply 2-cleft; teeth subulate. Flowers are 2-3 mm long, purple. Ovary about 1 mm long, oblong; ovules many. Young stem, leaf-stalks and flower-cluster-stalks are velvet-hairy with short hooked hairs. Leaves are 3-foliolate; middle leaflet 1-1.5 x 0.8-1.2 cm, ovate-obovate, wedge-shaped at base, blunt or slightly notched at tip; laterals 0.8-1.2 x 0.6-0.8 cm, elliptic, hairless above, velvet-hairy beneath. The underside of the leaflets appears yellowish due to velvety hairs, which may be the origin of the species name lutescens. Stipules are 5-7 mm long, lanceshaped, tapering. Pods are 6-8 x 5-6 mm, oblong, turgid, hairy, black when mature. Tiny Sweetvetch is found in Western Ghats and Himalayas, at altitudes up to 1300 m. It is also found in China and parts of SE Asia.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Wagaman, Kerala.

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