Macroptilium gibbosifolium – Variableleaf Bushbean

Macroptilium gibbosifolium - Variableleaf Bushbean, Wild Bushbean (flowers)

Macroptilium gibbosifolium - Variableleaf Bushbean, Wild Bushbean

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Macroptilium gibbosifolium

Synonyms: Macroptilium heterophyllum, Phaseolus heterophyllus

Common Names: Variableleaf Bushbean, Wild Bushbean

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Vine, Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Upland. This plant grows along roadsides in grasslands and pastures and on dry, rocky hillsides.

Flower Color: Light reddish orange, Salmon pink, Pale yellow (rare)

Flowering Season: Summer. This wildflower blooms after the summer monsoon rains have begun.

Height: Up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long

Description: The pea-like flowers are in racemes that emerge from the leaf axils. The flowers are followed by slender, pendulous, linear to sickle-shaped, point-tipped bean pods that split in half when dry. The leaves are alternate and trifolate with three green, densely hairy leaflets. The leaflets are highly variable in shape and may be unequally lobed near the base and narrowly oblong to rounded in shape. The stems are long, slender, trailing, and very hairy. The plants are prostrate.

The similar Purple Bushbean (Macroptilium atropurpureum) is a climber with reddish black to dark purplish flowers, while the prostrate and salmon-flowered Supine Bean (Macroptilium supinum) is rare here and has unlobed, narrowly lance-shaped leaflets.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Macroptilium (Benth.) Urb. – bushbean
Species: Macroptilium gibbosifolium (Ortega) A. Delgado – variableleaf bushbean

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map