logo Calflora, a 501c3 non-profit
Taxon  Report  
Hosackia gracilis  Benth.
Harlequin lotus
Hosackia gracilis is a perennial herb that is native to California, and also found elsewhere in western North America.
California Rare Plant Rank: 4.2 (limited distribution).
Siskiyou Del Norte Modoc Humboldt Shasta Lassen Trinity Plumas Tehama Butte Mendocino Glenn Sierra Yuba Lake Nevada Colusa Placer Sutter El Dorado Yolo Alpine Napa Sonoma Sacramento Mono Amador Solano Calaveras Tuolumne San Joaquin Marin Contra Costa Alameda Santa Cruz Mariposa Madera San Francisco San Mateo Merced Fresno Stanislaus Santa Clara Inyo San Benito Tulare Kings Monterey San Bernardino San Luis Obispo Kern Santa Barbara Ventura Los Angeles Riverside Orange San Diego Imperial
Observation Search
~625 records in California
yellowone or more occurrences
within a 7.5-minute quadrangle

Bloom Period
Genus: Hosackia
Family: Fabaceae  
Category: angiosperm  
PLANTS group:Dicot
Jepson eFlora section: eudicot

Wetlands: Occurs usually in wetlands, occasionally in non wetlands

Communities: Northern Coastal Scrub, Closed-cone Pine Forest, Mixed Evergreen Forest, wetland-riparian

Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + CNPS

Alternate Names:
JEF + CNPSLotus formosissimus
PLANTSLotus formosissimus
Information about  Hosackia gracilis from other sources
Nursery availability from CNPLX
This plant is available commercially.
Jepson eFlora


Photos on Calflora

Photos on CalPhotos

Google Images

Photos on iNaturalist

ID Tips on PlantID.net

[Wikipedia] Range, Habitat, Description: Hosackia gracilis, synonym Lotus formosissimus, is a species of legume native to western North America from British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to California. It was first described by George Bentham.[1] It is known by the common names harlequin lotus[2] and seaside bird's-foot trefoil.[3] It grows in moist spots in the coastal mountains and down to the oceanside bluffs. It is a perennial herb growing upright or spreading to about 0.5 m in maximum length. It is lined with leaves each made up of a few oppositely arranged oval leaflets up to 2 cm long. The inflorescence is made up of several pealike flowers each 1 to 2 cm long. The flower has a bright yellow banner, or upper petal, and bright pink or white lower petals. The fruit is a legume pod 2 to 3 cm long. It is believed that the caterpillars of the critically endangered lotis blue butterfly (syn. Lycaeides idas lotis, Lycaeides argyrognomon lotis, Plebejus anna lotis) feed on Hosackia gracilis on the Mendocino coast in damp coastal prairies.[4][5] (link added by Mary Ann Machi)

Suggested Citation
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals. [web application]. 2024. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: https://www.calflora.org/   (Accessed: 07/25/2024).