Size: 1 or 2 feet (.30-.61 m) or more (3 feet - .91 m).
Growth Form: Shrubby Deervetch is an herbaceoussubshrub with multiple pale green stems growing up from the base, these stems are rigid, or spreading horizontally and then becoming erect; the plants are somewhat woody below; plants with stiff closely appressed hairs (strigose).
Flower Color: Shrubby Deervetch has yellow flowers that turn orange-red or red with age; the flowering stalk has 1 to 3 flowers; the fruit is a narrow pod.
Flowering Season: February to May; March to May in California.
Elevation: Under 6,000 feet (1,829 m); below 5,000 feet (1,550 m) in California.
Habitat Preferences: Low to mid-level desert areas, chaparral vegetation and pinyon/juniper communities; dry rocky slopes, flats, washes, foothills, Shrubby Deervetch is found in both the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
Recorded Range:Lotus rigidus is found in the southwestern states of AZ, CA, NV and UT. It is also native to Baja California and northern Mexico. In the United States it is found throughout most of Arizona, southwest California, southeast Nevada and extreme southwest Utah.
Genus Information: In North America, USDA Plants Database lists 142 species for Lotus. Worldwide, World Flora Online includes 605 accepted species names for the genus.
The genus Lotus is under current taxonomic review and many species are now classified under the genus Acmispon. Lotus rigidus is now also recognized as Acmispon rigidus.
The genus Lotus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).
Comments: Listed in Arizona Flora as our most xerophyticLotus. Shrubby Deervetch is also a common subshrub-in low to mid-level desert areas in both the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
Shrubby Deervetch, Lotus rigidus has attractive flowers, the flowers and their seeds may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.
According to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, hummingbirds feed on the nectar and Sonoran Desert tortoises relish the plants.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
Shrubby Deervetch, Lotus rigidus has attractive flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, Native Bees and other insects in search of food and nectar.
****Special Value to Native Bees****
According to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation or other source, Common name, Genus species, is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of Native bees. Click here for more information on their Pollinator Conservation Program.
The genus “Lotus” (Lo'tus:); Greek origin, name applied to the taste of the Jujube fruit (Ziziphus jujuba); thought to induce contentment and forgetfulness.
The genus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).
The species epithet “rigidus” (rig'idus:) rigid, referring to the stiff leaves.
The taxon “Lotus rigidus” was described in 1890 by Edward Lee Greene (1843-1915).
Ethnobotany - Native American Ethnobotany; University of Michigan - Dearborn