Sesbania herbacea (P. Mill.) McVaugh

tall river-hemp

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Tall river-hemp is native to southern North America but introduced in other parts of North America, including New England, where it has been collected in Massachusetts. It is considered weedy in some states.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Massachusetts
Flower petal color
  • pink to red
  • yellow
Leaf type
the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
  • both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
  • the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
Stamen number
10
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
100–200 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Carpels fused
    • NA
    • the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary and a hypanthium
    Flower number
    2–6
    Flower petal color
    • pink to red
    • yellow
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is narrow at the tip and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    there are two clusters of fused stamens
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    • both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    • the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence length
    30–60 mm
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Length of flower stalk
    5–10 mm
    Marks on petals
    the petals have spots or streaks on them
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    1
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • pink to red
    • yellow
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal folding in bud
    the petals in bud are arranged in a cycle with edges overlapping like roof shingles (imbricate)
    Petal folds or pleats
    • the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    • the petals of the flower have folds or plaits on them
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    5
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal length
    5–7 mm
    Sepal number
    5
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are slightly curved outwards from the corolla
    Sepal shape
    the sepal outline is lanceolate (lance-shaped; narrow, gradually tapering from the base to the tip)
    Sepal tip shape
    the sepal tip is acute (is sharply pointed)
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Stamen number
    10
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are attached to one another at or near their bases
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    • NA
    • the capsule splits by two main valves, teeth or pores
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    100–200 mm
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    • the fruit is another shape than those described
    • the fruit is flat or strongly compressed
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a legume (a fruit that splits into two valves, but only has a single carpel; think of a pea pod)
    Fruit width
    3–4 mm
    Hair type on fruit
    NA
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits are not hairy
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    the legume has internal partitions arranged cross-wise along the fruit
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    • the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    • the ovary or fruit has a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has parietal placentation, where ovules develop on the wall or slight outgrowths of the wall forming broken partitions within a compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed number
    30–40
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole length
    3–4 mm
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteole shape
    the bracteoles are linear (very narrow, with more or less parallel sides)
    Bracteoles
    the plant has bracteoles between the primary bracts and the flowers
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    10–30 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    3.5–5
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Flower bract length
    4–6 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade bloom
    there is a noticeable powdery or waxy bloom on the underside of the leaf
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk length
    100–300 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaf variation
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaflet number
    30–60
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    the pinnately compound leaves lack a terminal leaflet (and usually have an even number of leaflets per axis)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    Stipels
    there are no stipels at the bases of the petiolules
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    100–400 cm
    Stem bloom
    the stem has a powdery or waxy film on it that can be rubbed away
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem spacing
    the plant is solitary, or a few plants are growing together
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Tephrosia virginiana

Synonyms

  • Darwinia exaltata Raf.
  • Sesban exaltatus (Raf.) Rydb
  • Sesbania exaltata (Raf.) Corey
  • Sesbania macrocarpa Muhl.

Family

Fabaceae

Genus

Sesbania

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Sesbania herbacea (P. Mill.) McVaugh E

tall river-hemp. Darwinia exaltata Raf.; Sesban exaltatus (Raf.) Rydb; Sesbania exaltata (Raf.) Corey; S. macrocarpa Muhl. • MA. Fields, roadsides, ditches.