Aeschynomene

Scientific name

Aeschynomene L.

Common names

jointvetch

Family

Fabaceae

Similar genera

Mimosa, Neptunia

Native distribution

tropical to subtropical regions worldwide

Species cultivated

Aeschynomene americana L.

A. evenia C. Wright

A. fluitans Peter

Adventive distribution

some species introduced into the United States

Weed status

Some of the non-cultivated aquatic members of the genus are considered noxious weeds.

Habit

floating, emergent or seasonally submerged herb or shrub

Brief description

Annual or perennial. Stems erect, creeping or floating; emergent or seasonally submerged/floating stems often pithy and swollen when in water. Stipules usually persistent. Leaves alternate, compound (paripinnate), oblong; apex round to notched; base round to cordate. Leaflets numerous, usually opposite, subsessile; leaflet blade narrowly oblong; apex round; base round, asymmetric; margin entire to minutely toothed; venation palmate or prominent midrib. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, solitary flower. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic; bracteoles present; calyx 2 lipped, upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip 3-lobed; posterior petal orbicular, lateral obovate-oblong, keel obovate or incurved, typically yellow. Pods transversely jointed, breaking apart at maturity.

Natural habitat

riparian, wet to flooded soils

Additional comments

Aeschynomene consists of 150 species, most of which are in Central and South America and Africa. About 70 species in the genus are aquatic.