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Lotus Leaf

Lotus Leaf
Source / kaichanvong

Lotus is a genus that includes bird’s-foot trefoils and deervetches and contains many dozens of species distributed world-wide. Depending on the taxonomic authority, roughly between 70 and 150 are accepted. Lotus is a genus of legume and its members are adapted to a wide range of habitats, from coastal environments to high altitudes. Most species have leaves with five leaflets; two of these are at the extreme base of the leaf, with the other three at the tip of a naked midrib. This gives the appearance of a pair of large stipules below a “petiole” bearing a trefoil of three leaflets – in fact the true stipules are minute, soon falling or withering. Some species have pinnate leaves with up to 15 leaflets. The flowers are in clusters of 3-10 together at the apex of a stem with some basal leafy bracts; they are pea-flower shaped, usually vivid yellow, but occasionally orange or red. The seeds develop in three or four straight, strongly diverging pods, which together make a shape reminiscent of the diverging toes of a small bird, leading to the common name “bird’s-foot”.

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