Lotus greenei has the common names of deer vetch, deer clover or, red and yellow pea. I like the last one best as it describes Greene’s lotus quite well. Wait, did I just give it another common name? I think I did. The specific epithet and my new common name is for Edward Lee Greene. He was botanist, a plant collector, a teacher, and an Episcopalian priest who converted to Catholicism. He apparently was quite feisty and opinionated about many things botanical. I suspect you either loved him or not. I know and love a botanist like that. Anyway, he’s worth a google if you have the time.
The flowering season for Greenes’s Lotus is well over, so look for it in habitat next March and into May. There are 15 species of Lotus found in Arizona. I sometimes find Lotus rigidus in nurseries. Well, cool native plant nurseries I should say and Lotus rigidus is a good tough drought hardy species. Maybe Lotus greenei will be in nurseries someday as well.
A couple notes: Janine is Janine McCabe. She is a naturalist, native plant geek and grower, and birder extraordinaire. Maybe you’ve bought a plant or two from her at Desert Survivors Nursery in Tucson.
Greg is Greg Starr. He is the author of Cool Plants for Hot Gardens (Rio Nuevo) and Agaves (Timber Press). Good reads for fans of native plants and a few exotics as well.
And I can still be found selling native plants at the Bisbee Farmers’ Market most Saturdays spring through the fall.