Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Look at Legumes

The Fabaceae Family is fabulous. It includes some of our favorite desert plants. Six of the 7 on Derek's list in this family are found in Sabino Canyon, including:

Fortunately, the new scientific names for the two Acacias in Sabino Canyon (and elsewhere, of course) were not accepted at the most recent taxonomy conference (yes, they have big conferences), so we can still call them Acacia. Thanks to Joan Tedford for keeping up with these changes and non-changes.

Another neat plant in this family, the Tepary Bean (Phaseolus acutifolius var. tenuifolius)  is blooming now in Sabino Canyon. (I mistakenly referred to it as Slim-Jim Bean last year, before I knew to use Joan's list to verify. Unlearn that, please, as that's a different species, and it's not found in the canyon.) You need to look low to the ground, though; it's a vine and the flowers are small. If you walk along the road, look around bridge six. There are loads of them there. The beans are edible and were eaten by the native peoples. As with the legumes in general, a good source of protein.

Tepary Bean, photo by Matt Ball
If you said 'Desert Marigold' in answer to yesterday's photo quiz, you are a sweet pea.

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