Monographs Details: Cracca cinerea (L.) Morong
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Both the specific botanical name and the Spanish name of this low herbaceous plant, with small, attractive, purplish flowers, refer to the ashy-gray, hairy covering of the lower side of its leaflets; this feature is not invariable, however, for the amount and character of this hairyness is various, in the very wide distribution of the species, throughout the West Indies, and on the continent from southern Mexico to Venezuela. It is common at lower and middle altitudes in Porto Rico, growing on banks, plains, fields and hillsides, and also inhabits the islands Mona, Desecheo, Vieques, Cayo Muertos and Cayo Icacos.
Cracca (Latin for vetch) is a Linnaean genus of about 120 species, most of them natives of warm and tropical regions. They are herbaceous plants, with once-compound leaves of an uneven number of untoothed leaflets, the flowers borne in clusters. The calyx has 5, nearly equal teeth; all the petals are clawed, the standard one orbicular, or broadly ovate, the wing-petals obliquely obovate, or oblong, those of the keel curved; the stamens are all united by their filaments, or one is separate; the narrow ovary contains several or many ovules. The pod is narrow, flat, several-seeded and splits longitudinally into 2 valves when ripe.
Cracca cinerea (ashy) has a thick, sometimes long, woody rootstock, and slender, hairy, usually branched, prostrate or ascending stems, from 0.4 to 1 meter long. The leaves are short-stalked, from 5 to 8 centimeters long and have from 9 to 15, narrow, blunt or somewhat pointed, hairy leaflets from 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters long. The flowers are few together, in slender, stalked clusters, mostly opposite the leaves; the calyx is about 5 millimeters long, its teeth pointed; the petals are about twice as long as the calyx, the standard about 10 millimeters broad. The pod is finely hairy, from 3 to 6 centimeters long, about 4 millimeters wide, and contains 10 seeds, or fewer.
Another species, Cracca catharica, upright, from 0.3 to 0.8 meters high, with fewer, usually notched leaflets, and smaller flowers, also inhabits Porto Rico, at the lower elevations, and is also illustrated in this work.
Galega cinerea Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, edition 10, 1172. 1759.
Tephrosia cinerea Persoon, Synopsis Plantarum 2: 328. 1807.
Cracca cinerea Morong, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 7: 79. 1892.