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Hedysarum boreale
Hedysarum boreale (Chainpod)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-deserts, foothills.  Openings, canyons, shrublands, woodlands. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 19, 2010.

This species of Hedysarum is typically found at lower altitudes than the species shown below.  Both are quite showy and can be noticed from quite a distance as you approach them on the trail.  H. boreale is typically 10-20 inches tall and wide; H. occidentalis is twice these dimensions and shrub-like.

Thomas Nuttall named this species in 1818 from a collection he made "around Fort Mandan, on the banks of the Missouri".

Click for a hillside of Hedysarum boreale.

Hedysarum boreale

Hedysarum boreale

Hedysarum boreale

 

 

 

 

 

Hedysarum boreale (Chainpod)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

 

Semi-deserts, foothills.  Openings, canyons, shrublands, woodlands. Spring, summer.


Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 19 and 31, 2010.

 

 

The teeth of the calyx are narrow, of nearly equal length, and longer than the calyx tube. 

 

 

 

The upright banner petal is notched, the two wing petals are much shorter than the keel, and the keel is quite angular  --  much like the bow of a canoe.

 

 

 

 

 

Hedysarum borealeIn the final photograph at left some flowers are fresh, some fading, and some have completely dropped to be replaced by the chain of seed pods.

Hedysarum occidentale

Hedysarum occidentale (Chainpod)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Montane. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.
Pass Creek Trail, Engineer Mountain, August 2, 2005.

This intensely pink-purple Pea is characterized by widely spaced leaflets, segmented pendulous seed pods,

Hedysarum occidentale

upper sepals shorter than lower ones, and leafless flower stems.  In its high montane habitat, Hedysarum occidentale is typically a robust shrub over several feet tall.

Hedysarum occidentale is very similar to H. boreale (usually found at lower elevations) and is distinguished first and foremost by its much larger size and then by minute characteristics, such as, the markings on loments (the seed pods), the size of the calyx lobes, and the leaf venation.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  "Hedysarum" is, according to William Weber, a name given thousands of years ago by Theophrastus to some member of the Pea Family and "boreale" is Greek for "northern".  Charles Piper collected Hedysarum occidentale in 1890 and Edward Greene named and described the plant in 1896.

Hedysarum occidentale

Hedysarum occidentale

Hedysarum occidentale (Chainpod)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Montane. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.

Pass Creek Trail, Engineer Mountain, August 2, 2005, Roaring Fork Road, July 19, 2011.

The teeth of the calyx are stubby, of unequal length, and usually shorter than the calyx tube.

Flowers are hot pink; albinos are rare.

Click for a hillside of Hedysarum occidentale.

Hedysarum occidentale
Hedysarum occidentale (Chainpod)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Montane. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.
Pass Creek Trail, Engineer Mountain, August 2, 2005.

Hedysarum occidentale
Hedysarum occidentale (Chainpod)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Montane. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.Pass Creek Trail, Engineer Mountain, August 2, 2005.

Myriads of flowers are followed by myriads of cute seed chains.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Hedysarum boreale

Range map for Hedysarum boreale

Range map for Hedysarum occidentale