Scientific Name: Psoralidium tenuiflorum
Synonyms: Psoralea floribunda, P. obtusifolia, P. tenuiflora, Psoralidium batesii
Common Names: Slimflower Scurfpea, Scurfy Pea, Scurf Pea, Few-flowered Scurf-pea, Slender Scurf Pea, Wedgeleaf Scurfpea, Wild Alfalfa
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Upland. This wildflower typically grows on dry, open slopes or in canyons in desert grasslands and pinyon, oak, and juniper savannahs.
Flower Color: Violet
Flowering Season: Late spring, Summer, Early Fall
Height: Up to 3 feet (0.9 m) tall
Description: The flowers are in open racemes on long stalks that emerge from the leaf axils. The small, pea-like flowers have bluish purple aging to cream or tan petals and reddish sepals. The flowers are followed by small, plump, oval-shaped, beaked, glandular bean pods each containing a shiny, brown, kidney bean-shaped seed. The leaves have short petioles and small, lanceolate stipules and are green, gland-dotted, alternate, hairless above, hairy below, and palmately compound with 3 or sometimes 5 round-tipped, oblanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped leaflets. The stems are slender, wiry, green, hairy, ridged, glandular, branched, and erect to ascending. The plants have deep taproots.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) has smaller, more tightly clustered flowers and toothed leaflets.
Poisonous – Although used medicinally, the plants are poisonous to mammals. The plants can be burned to repel mosquitoes.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Psoralidium Rydb. – scurfpea
Species: Psoralidium tenuiflorum (Pursh) Rydb. – slimflower scurfpea
More About This Plant