by Diane Daly, Dr. Jennifer Funk, and Deb Shaw

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, or Mexican Bird of Paradise, watercolor by Diane Daly, © 2013, all rights reserved.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, or Mexican Bird of Paradise, watercolor by Diane Daly, © 2013, all rights reserved.

If you’re looking for additional “legume” inspiration during the holidays, we have two lists for you. The first was developed for us by Dr. Jennifer Funk, Associate Professor in the Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University. This is a brief list of just a few representative legumes, showing the wide variety of plants in this fascinating family:

Agricultural legumes

  • Glycine max (soybean)
  • Medicago sativa (alfalfa)
  • Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)
  • Pisum sativum (pea)

Legumes in desert and semi-arid ecosystems

  • Acmispon – dozens of species including Acmispon glaber (deerweed) which is an early colonizer following fire, and the very beautiful Acmispon wrangelianus, which can tolerate harsh serpentine soils
  • Astragalus – dozens of beautiful milkvetch species, including rare natives like Astragalus claranus, Astragalus clevelandii, and Astragalus funereus
  • Caesalpinia pulcherrima
  • Calliandra eriophylla
  • Dalea mollissima
  • Hosackia – many species with spectacular flowers including Hosackia stipularis
  • Lathyrus – many species including the lovely beach-goer Lathyrus littoralis
  • Lupinus – many species with yellow or purple flowers, and slender herbs to large shrubs
  • Pediomelum californicum
  • Pickeringia montana (chaparral pea)
  • Psorothamnus – several species with spectacular flowering stalks
  • Trifolium – a diverse genus of clovers including my favorite Trifolium depauperatum (cowbag clover)

Weedy and invasive legumes

  • Acacia dealbata
  • Genista monspessulana (French broom)
  • Medicago polymorpha (burclover)
  • Melilotus officinalis
  • Spartium junceum (Spanish broom)
  • Trifolium hirtum
  • Vicia sativa

Leguminous trees

  • Acacia dealbata
  • Acacia koa, Hawaiian tree used for beautiful reddish wood
  • Bauhinia species (can be found at arboretums)
  • Cercis occidentalis (western redbud)
  • Erythrina – many species can be found at arborteums
  • Olneya tesota (ironwood)
  • Prosopis glandulosa (mesquite)
  • Sophora chrysophylla (mamane), a Hawaiian tree that provides food for the endangered Palila bird

The second list is of “Artist’s Choices,” legume subjects BAGSC members have painted, are painting, or are thinking about painting. Don’t panic if you see something you’ve painted (or are thinking of painting) on the following list. This is only a preliminary list, and it’s always fun to see the same subject painted by different people. If you haven’t sent your subject to Diane Daly, please do so. We will be using our subject lists to develop educational outreach materials with Jennifer’s students.

  • Melanie Campbell-Carter: Snail vine (Viga caracalla)
  • Diane Daly: Pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa), Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
  • Clara Josephs: Desert false indigo with dogface butterfly, Carob tree
  • Joan Keesey: Wisteria, Coral Tree, Lupine
  • Suzanne Kuuskmae: Lupine, wisteria
  • Pat Mark: Hyacinth bean
  • Mitsuko Schultz: Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
  • Deborah Shaw: Castanospermum australe, Papago Bean/seeds, Acacia (wattle bush)
  • Patty VanOsterhoudt: Desert Museum x Parkinsidium Parkinsonia x Cercidium (Palo Verde)
  • Leslie Walker: Delonix regia

Happy painting!

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