South, west and central California
Up to one foot; grows sideways
Moist slopes, streambanks, meadows, foothills
Round or obovate, up to 4 inches across; in groups of three, on long stalks
The pea-like flowers of hoita orbicularis readily identify this as a plant of the fabaceae family, though the genus is uncommon, with just three US species, all endemic to California. From the dense green foliage, consisting of large, round leaflets growing in groups of three, the thick, finely hairy flower stem rises a few inches, terminating in a compact, elongated cluster of several dozen flowers, each enclosed by hairy green bracts. The banner (the wide, uppermost petal) is about half an inch across, pink-purple with a white patch in the middle, while the wings are also pink, and the keel (two thin, fused central petals) is mostly white. Plants form large clusters but grow sideways, staying close to the ground.