Maine to Florida.
Flowers: growing in a long, terminal raceme. Calyx: deeply toothed. Corolla: showy; papilionaceous. Leaves: palmately divided into seven to eleven lanceolate, hairy leaflets. Stem: erect; sometimes branching; hairy.
The generic name of this lovely plant, which means a wolf, was bestowed upon it because it has been supposed to devour and exhaust the soil. Well, if it does it has the good taste to do so in a way highly considerate of its neighbour's feelings, and one that it would be well if all wolves would imitate. By spreading itself over sandy, waste places it transforms them into an under sky that Venice might envy, and that cheers and delights the eye. It has been called sun-dial, as its leaves are said to turn to face the sun from morning until evening. Old maid's bonnets is another and rather amusing common name of the plant.
In eastern North America we have but two species, of which our plant is the northern representative. The southern sister is called L. villosus. It has oblong simple leaves, in contrast to the above, and its pods are beautifully covered with soft, silvery hairs.
The west boasts many varieties of this plant, which all closely resemble each other. They are among the peculiarly striking and attractive of our wild flowers.