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..
Perennial herbs, with thick sweet roots, odd-pinnate leaves, and blue or white flowers in axillary spikes or heads. Calyx-teeth nearly equal, the two upper sometimes partly united. Standard narrowly ovate or oblong, short-clawed; wings oblong, acutish; keel acute or obtuse, shorter than the wings. Stamens mainly diadelphous; anthers alternately smaller and longer. Pod sessile, covered with prickles or glands, nearly indehiscent, continuous between the seeds. [Greek, sweet-root]
About 15 species, natives of the north temperate zone, southern South America and Australia. Besides the following, another occurs in California. Type species: Glycyrrhiza echinata L.
Erect, branching, 1°-3° high, the foliage with minute scales or glands. Stipules lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, acute, a'-3" long, deciduous; leaves pe-tioled; leaflets 11-19, lanceolate, or oblong, acute or obtuse and mucronate at the apex, rounded or narrowed at the base, entire, very short-stalked, io"-i8" long, 3"-6" wide; peduncles much shorter than the leaves; spikes dense, many-flowered, 1'-2' long, about 9" thick; flowers yellowish-white, 6" long; calyx-teeth slender, longer than the tube; pod about 6" long, few-seeded, oblong, densely covered with hooked prickles.