[The Genus Thermopsis East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Golden Pea, Mountain Thermopsis, Slender Golden-banner

Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata

formerly Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata or Thermopsis montana var. ovata

Close-up sideview of a flower of Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata)

The photo above shows a close-up sideview of the flower of golden pea as seen along Balloon Tree Road in the Umatilla N.F. near Tollgate in northeastern Oregon.............June 27, 2006.

Stem leaf of Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata) The photo at right shows a mid-stem leaf of golden pea (var. ovata) as seen from along Balloon Tree Road in the Umatilla N.F...............June 27, 2006. The leaves of the lower and mid stem of the plants shown here are fairly broadly ovate or ovate-elliptic while the upper leaves are narrower.
Characteristics:

Also known as mountain thermopsis, golden pea is a perennial wildflower with one to several stout, erect stems measuring from 40-100 cm in height. Plants vary from glabrous to copiously covered with soft, shaggy hairs especially on the upper plant. The leaves are ternately compound with the 3 leaflets linear-elliptic to broadly ovate-elliptic in shape, ans as much as 10 cm long. The upper surface of the leaflets is typically glabrous while the ventral surface is covered with appressed hairs. The stipules at the base of the petioles are quite variable in size, ranging from very small to nearly the size of the leaflets.

The inflorescence is a raceme of 5-50 flowers that measures from 8-30 cm in length. The flowers are yellow, 20 to 25 mm long. The pedicels measure up to 9 mm long while the calyx is about equal in length. The calyx lobes are slightly shorter than the tube which is thinly to densely covered with soft, shaggy hairs. The yellow corolla measures 20 to 25 mm long. The pods are erect to somewhat spreading, straight, somewhat hairy and two to five seeded. The plant varies in hairiness overall, from nearly glabrous to densely pubescent.


Habitat:

Golden pea is found on sandy, well-drained soil to wet meadows.


Range:

Golden pea is found from British Columbia south to California, and from the Pacific coast eastward to the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Colorado.


Frontal view of a flower of Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata)

The photo above shows a close-up frontal view of the flower of golden pea as seen along Balloon Tree Road.

Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata)

The photo above shows golden pea as seen in meadows along Balloon Tree Drive in the Umatilla N.F. near Tollgate in northeastern Oregon..............June 27, 2006.

Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata)

The spreading to erect pods of golden pea as seen along the Umatilla Rim Trail at the northwest corner of High Ridge, Umatilla National Forest..............July 24, 2012.

Flower of Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata) - Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata) - Stem leaf of Slender Thermopsis, Slender Goldenbanner, Slender Golden-banner, Mountain Thermopsis, Golden Pea: Thermopsis rhombifolia var. ovata (Synonyms: Thermopsis gracilis var. ovata, Thermopsis montana var. ovata, Thermopsis macrophylla, Thermopsis macrophylla var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis montana var. hitchcockii, Thermopsis ovata)

Golden pea beginning to bloom along the Umatilla Rim Trail north of the junction with the Lake Creek Trail, Umatilla National Forest...........June 30, 2012.

Paul Slichter