Native to tropical Latin America and the southern United States, where it is present from Texas east to Florida and South Carolina. It also has been introduced to Hawaii.
An annual, biennial, or a perennial plant growing in a semi-shrubby habit to around 3 feet in height. It grows most often in moist habitats, and may be found in margins of turf, pastures, cultivated areas and in any disturbed sites. Reproduction is from seeds.
The primary stem is well branched with multiple strong stems, and these are all covered with soft gray hairs. Leaves are on long stalks and are divided into 3 large, oval leaflets that narrow toward the tips. Both surfaces of the leaves are covered with soft hairs. The large yellow flowers are irregular in shape, growing at the ends of the expanding tips of the stems. A few flowers open at any time, with the large seed pods developing below them. These pods are large, slightly curved, and inflated, almost 2 inches long and covered with darker hairs, turning dark brown or blackish as they mature. Each pod contains up to 30 seeds.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Individual plants are easily removed, but for wider infestations a systemic herbicide will be effective. Where possible, control of moisture will reduce the infestation.