Monographs Details: Baptisia lactea var. obovata (Larisey) Isely
Authority: Isely, Duane. 1981. Leguminosae of the United States. III. Subfamily Papilionoideae: tribes Sophoreae, Podalyrieae, Loteae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 25 (3): 1-264.
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Range as given in key. Edges of woods and open woodlands (mostly deciduous, n; pine, s); margins of streams and ponds, hammocks, sand ridges, flood plains; roadsides and embankments, occasionally open fields; usually in moist soil; local or abundant and conspicuous; slightly cult. March-April (s); April (-May) (n).
Discussion:B. pendula var obovata Larisey (1940); B. lactea var obovata (Larisey) Isely (1978).
B. pendula Larisey (1940).
B. psammophila Larisey (1940).
B. pendula var macrophylla Larisey (1940) pro parte.
? B. lactea x megacarpa.
? B. megacarpa x lactea.
The southeastern forms of Baptisia lactea are known in their region by their well-petioled, glabrous leaves, large white flowers, deciduous stipules and commonly hugely inflated, fragile-walled pods that turn black at maturity.
Larisey (1940a) distinguished two southeastern species, Baptisia pendula and B. psammophila, from B. leucantha of the midwest. Contrariwise, Turner (in annotations), returned both of them to B. leucantha without varietal designation. Ward (1972), listing only B. leucantha in Florida, evidently agreed with him. The position of the latter authors, I assume, is based on the fact that fruits of some eastern B. leucantha (i.e., B. lactea var obovata) are scarcely distinguishable from those of the midwest. Indeed, pods of Baptisia lactea var obovata are diverse, even locally. For example, of two specimens (NCU) from Stanley co, North Carolina, one has the ideal, subspheroid fruits, ca. 2.5 cm diam, of var obovata, whereas those of a second, cylindric ca. 3.5 cm x 1.3 cm, are var lactea as to characters.
I agree with Turner and with Ward that it is unrealistic to consider western and eastern Baptisia lactea as separate species, but they assuredly deserve geographic varietal status. Not only do they have amost exclusive ranges in different floristic provinces, but the pods usually differ as described in the key.
Larisey (1940a) differentiated Baptisia pendula from B. psammophila on the basis of raceme length, and, as to specimens she cited, B. psammophila has a more southernly distribution. But raceme length is affected by growth conditions, and a meaningful morphological or geographic grouping does not seem possible. Some plants from North Carolina have as long racemes as those from Florida. Among collections from Marion co, South Carolina, are plants with giant, solitary, long spires and others with clustered, short, few-flowered racemes that barely exceed the foliage.
Larisey’s (1940a) Baptisia pendula vars obovata and macrophylla are taxo-nomically negligible. The former is based upon a small plant with small, proportionately broad leaflets, not significantly different from numerous other collections, the latter include robust plants from Kentucky and Georgia.