SILKY SOPHORA
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Sophora nuttalliana  B.L. Turner
Smoky Valley Ranch, Logan County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 4-20 inches
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Also Called: White loco.
Stems: Erect or ascending, single or much branched from base, usually branching above, silky-hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, short-stalked, odd-pinnately compound, 1 to 3 inches long, 1/4 to 1 inch wide; leaflets 15-31, elliptic to obovate, 1/4 to 3/4 inch long, silky-hairy, often folded lengthwise; margins entire; tips pointed or blunt.
Inflorescences: Racemes, 1.5 to 4 inches long, loosely- to densely-flowered, on stalks in leaf axils near ends of branches.
Flowers: 5-parted, up to 1/2 inch long; calyces swollen on 1 side, stiff-hairy, often purplish; corollas papilionaceous, white to cream; banner conspicuous, wider above middle; wings asymmetrical; stamens 10, separate.
Fruits: Pods, 1 to 2.75 inches long, beaked, constricted between seeds; seeds 1-7, smooth, olive-green or brown.
Habitat: Dry prairie hills, plains, stream valleys, and roadsides.
Distribution: Principally west 1/2 of Kansas.
Toxicity: The foliage and seeds are thought to be toxic to livestock.
Uses: Native Americans chewed the sweet-tasting roots.
Comments: Silky sophora often forms extensive colonies. It resembles milk-vetches (Astragalus ssp.) but differs in having 10 stamens that are separate and a keel that is beaked rather than rounded.

Silky sophora inflorescence
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Smoky Valley Ranch, Logan County, Kansas
Silky sophora
145 KB
Barber County, Kansas
Silky sophora leaves
98 KB
Barber County, Kansas