Sesbania herbacea

Coffee Weed

Sesbania herbacea plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - Erect, glabrous, glaucous.

Sesbania herbacea stemStem.

Leaves - 8-30 cm long, short petiolate, pinnately compound, with 30-70 narrowly oblong leaflets, glabrous, with entire margins.

Sesbania herbacea leaves

Inflorescence - Loose axillary clusters with 2-7 flowers.

Sesbania herbacea inflorescenceInflorescence.

Flowers - Calyx tubes 3-4 mm long, with short triangular lobes, bell shaped, glabrous. Corollas papilionaceous, glabrous, yellow. Stamens 10, with 9 filaments fused nearly to the tip.

Sesbania herbacea calyx

Sesbania herbacea flowerFlower.

Fruits - Legumes, 10-20 cm long, 3-4 mm wide, quadrangular in cross section, with 20-40 seeds.

Sesbania herbacea fruitScanned fruit.

Sesbania herbacea seedsSeeds.

Flowering - July - November.

Habitat - Disturbed sites, waste ground, roadsides, railroads, ditches.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - In Missouri, this weedy yet attractive species has been found mainly in the bootheel region, along with a few other counties along the Missouri River and the Arkansas border. The plant can be identified by its glabrous, tall stems, large leaves, big yellow flowers, and long, drooping fruits. The leaves grow perpendicular to the stem giving the plant a distinctive appearance. Plants can grow to 3m tall or more.
The genus name Sesbania is a latinized version of the old name "Sesban" of Arabic origin.
The species epithet herbacea derives from the Latin "herb(a)" meaning "grass, not woody."

Photographs taken off Hwy 29, Macon County, AL., 10-9-04 (DETenaglia); also at Otter Slough Conservation Area, Stoddard County, MO, 8-19-2013 (SRTurner).