Fabaceae
Hedysarum occidentale

Western Sweetvetch

Stems erect from base. Leaves with 3–6 in. midvein, holding 9–21 evenly spaced, oval, hairless leaflets. Spikes above leaves have 20–75 reddish purple flowers with prominent blunt keels. Flowers hang downward. Grows on dry slopes near timberline. Northern sweetbroom, H. boreale, has similar flowers but 7–15 oval leaflets with gray hairs on underside; grows on gravel bars, along streams, in dry woods among shrubs on clay soils, at mid to high elevations. Seedpods of genus Hedysarum have joints that break apart into 1-seed sections when ripe.

  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Flowering Time: All Summer
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Height: 18--35 inches
  • Habitat: Subalpine, West-Side Forest, East-Side Forest
  • Found In: Olympic NP, N Cascades NP, West Gorge
  • Native: Yes