Zarazabacoa, Beach Botany


Zarazabacoa, Desmodium incanum, a herbaceous perennial is a member of the Fabaceae (Legume) family. The plant is prostrate with fibrous trailing stems that grow from a deep tap root. Leaves are compound with three elliptic-shaped leaflets. Length is ¼” to 3/8” and 1/8” to ¼” wide. Both the stems and leaves are hairy. Pinkish-purple flowers are on stems barely 5” in height.

The flora structure begins with a pedicel holding a calyx with five sepals and a five-petal corolla. Two large petals fuse to form the banner. Two lateral petals cover a small fused appendage called a keel. The keel holds nine fused stamens. The Inflorescence is raceme with 3 to 6 flowers, each about 3mm. Blooming occurs year around.  Fruit is a segmented pod with seeds that attach to hair and clothes.

Habitats are open hammocks and disturbed sites. Zarazabacoa is not native to Florida. The plant was so small that I had to use my 100mm macro lens for the photo.