WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Clump forming with low, spreading stems that reach 1 1/2-feet long, stem and leaves densely covered with silvery hairs. Note more than 3 purple, pea-like flowers per cluster and the crescent-shaped pod.


FLOWERS: March–June. Lavender, purple, or pink; 3–10 pea-like flowers held upright, clustered at end of leafless stem. Flowers 5/8-1 1/4 inches long (16.5 to 31 mm) with 5 petals: banner petal upright with whitish spot at base, 2 wing petals curved over the 2 keel petals. Pods stemless, inflated, crescent-shaped, 3/4–2-inches long (2–5 cm), pointed at both ends, hairy, single chambered.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blades slivery gray-green, to 3/4–4 inches long (2–10 cm), pinnately compound with 5-21 elliptic leaflets, 1/8–3/4-inch long (3–20 mm) spaced along the midrib, both sides densely covered with silvery hairs that lie flat against the surface.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, clay soils, roadsides, drainages; desert grasslands and scrub, pinion-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 5,000–7,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NV, NM, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: With more than 75 species in NM, Astragalus is the largest genus in the state, many with similar pea-like flowers. The pod characteristics are often required to distinguish them. The look-alike Missouri Milkvetch, A. missouriensis, has similar leaf and flower characteristics, but oblong, straight or slightly curved pods, 1/2–1-inch long (1.4–2.7 cm).


NM COUNTIES: Northwest NM and scattered elsewhere in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: Bernalillo, Chaves, Cibola De Baca, Dona Ana, Los Alamos, McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro.

CRESCENT  MILKVETCH

ASTRAGALUS  AMPHIOXYS

Pea Family, Fabaceae

Perennial herb

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Crescent-shaped pods. 

Photo © Stan Shebs, Creative Commons

  1. 1.Banner petal (upper arrow).

  2. 2. Wing petals (middle arrow).

  3. 3. Keel petals (lower petal).

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