The creeping rootstocks of large-leaf golden-banner or false lupine send up stout, leafy stems 18-24 in. tall with spike-like racemes of yellow, lupine-like flowers. The leaves of this perennial are divided into three fuzzy leaflets.
California False Lupine is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae), which includes trees, shrubs, herbs, and vines with compound or occasionally simple leaves and flowers usually in clusters. Taken as a single family, there are about 640 genera and 17,000 species This enormous family, also known as the bean or legume family, includes many economically important genera: Peas belong to the genus Pisium; beans to Phaseolus; soybeans to Glycine; peanuts to Arachis; lentils to Lens; and chickpeas (garbanzos) to Cicer. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and clover species (Trifolium) provide forage for domestic livestock, but many other species are poisonous range weeds. Exotic hardwoods and gum arabic are provided by tropical trees belonging to this family, and numerous members are cultivated as handsome ornamentals. The traditional family name, Leguminosae, reflects some of the family’s importance (in Latin it refers to “plants with seedpods,” and in French légume means “vegetable”). The family is sometimes split into three smaller families, each distinguished by one of the three flower types: the Fabaceae, Mimosaceae, and Caesalpiniaceae. The fruit, an important feature, is similar in all three.
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