8. Lotus tetragonolobus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 773. 1753.
齿荚百脉根 chi jia bai mai gen
Tetragonolobus purpureus Moench.
Herbs, annual, 15-40 cm. Stem fleshy, prostrate, ascending, or erect, branchy, ridged, usually spreading sparsely villous. Leaflets 5, sessile, apical 3 ovate-rhombic, 2-5 × ca. 3 cm, base cuneate, apex acuminate, basal 2 stipulelike, adnate to rachis, ovate, less than 1 cm, puberulent on both surfaces. Umbels 1- or 2-flowered; peduncle short; bracts 3. Flowers 18-28 mm. Calyx ca. 15 mm, pubescent, often with dark purple spots; teeth longer than tube. Corolla scarlet, mauve when dry. Ovary glabrous; ovules numerous. Legume cylindric, (20-)30-60(-70) × 5-8 mm, tapering at both ends, margins thickened, with 4 wings by sides of both sutures, undulate, 2-4 mm in width. Seeds brown, subglobose, 3.5-4.5 mm, smooth.
Cultivated in China [native to the Mediterranean region, extending to S Ukraine and Caucasus; introduced in Australia and Pacific islands (New Zealand)].
The young tender legumes are eaten as a vegetable.