This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Prostrate or climbing perennial vines (sometimes erect and shrubby), mainly with pin-nately 3-foliolate leaves, small and deciduous stipules, and purple or violet axillary racemose flowers. Calyx 4-lobed, bracteolate, the lobes acute, often as long as the tube. Standard orbicular or obovate. Wings narrow, obovate, adherent to the narrow, nearly straight keel. Stamens diadelphous or nearly so (9 and 1); anthers all alike. Ovary nearly sessile; ovules ∞; style filiform, not bearded. Pod linear, straight or slightly curved, usually flattened, 2-valved, several-seeded. Fleshy few-seeded pods are sometimes produced from subterranean apetalous flowers. [Greek, milk-yielding, the typical species described as having milky branches.]
About 70 species, natives of warm and temperate regions, most abundant in America. Besides the following, about 25 others occur in the southern and southwestern states. Type species: Glycine Galactia L.
Nearly glabrous throughout; pods slightly pubescent.
Finely downy-pubescent; pods very downy.
Dolichos regularis L. Sp. Pl. 726. 1753.
Galactia glabella Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 62. 1803.
Galactia regularis B.S.P. Prel. Cat. N. Y. 14. 1888.
Prostrate, glabrous or sparingly appressed-pubescent; stems matted, usually branching, 1°-2° long. Stipules minute, deciduous; petioles shorter than the leaves; leaflets elliptic or ovate-oblong, obtuse and often emarginate at the apex, rounded or slightly cordate at the base, 1/2'-1 1/2' long, 4"-9" wide; peduncles longer than the petioles and generally exceeding the leaves, erect, 4-10-flowered; racemes loose or dense; pedicels about 1 1/2" long; flowers reddish-purple, 6"-8" long; pods linear, straight, or slightly curved, slightly pubescent, 1'-1 1/2' long, 2" wide, 4-7-seeded.
Hedysarum volubile L. Sp. Pl. 750. 1753.
Galactia mollis Nutt. Gen. 2:117. 1818. Not Michx.
1803. Galactia pilosa Ell. Bot. S. C. & Ga. 2: 238. 1824.
Finely downy-pubescent all over, similar to the preceding species. Leaflets ovate, elliptic, or oval, obtuse or acutish, sometimes emarginate at the apex, rounded or slightly cordate at the base, downy beneath, glabrous or with some appressed pubescence above, 1/2'-1/2' long, 5"-12" wide; peduncles sometimes elongated, but variable in length; racemes rather loose; flowers purplish, about 6" long; pod linear, 1'-1 1/4' long, 2" wide, densely and finely downy-pubescent.
In dry soil, New York Island; Flushing, Long Island, south to Florida, west to Kentucky, Kansas and Texas. Races differ in pubescence and in form of leaflets. June-July.
Dioclea multiflora (T. & G.) C. Mohr., a long vine, the purple flowers differing from those of Galactia in having the filament opposite the standard adnate to it, has been found along a railroad in western Kentucky. It is native of the southern states.
Pueraria Thunbergiana (Sieb. & Zucc.) Benth., the kudzu vine, of China, a high-climbing, hairy vine with large 3-foliolate leaves, the leaflets 3-lobed and acuminate, the blue-purple flowers in racemes, is much planted for ornament and has been found in waste grounds on Staten Island.