WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Silvery-white, flat-lying hairs cover the compound leaves and prostrate stems up to 60-inches long. Clusters of pinkish-purple flowers grow on leafless 6-inch long stems. Note the straight, oblong, hairy pod with a pointed tip.


FLOWER: March–July. Rounded clusters of 3–15 flowers bloom at the tips of erect flower stalks about the same length as the leaves. The pinkish-red, tubular, bilaterally-symmetrical flowers have a 5/8–1-inch long (15–28 mm) upper banner petal with a white center, 2 purplish to white wings on the sides that hook inward, and 2 purplish fused keel petals in the middle. The pods are stemless, oblong, 1/2–1-inch long (14–27 mm), covered with flat-lying hairs, straight or slightly curved with a pointed tip or beak. Note the dry pods remain on the stem.


LEAVES: Alternate, compound leaves. Blade 1–6-inches long, with 9–17 elliptic leaflets along the midrib, each 1/8–1/2-inch long (3–13 mm) and densely covered with flat-lying hairs.


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky plains, prairies, rangeland, roadsides, disturbed areas; desert grasslands and scrub, prairies, pinyon-juniper and ponderosa-oak woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,650–8,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, UT, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Missouri Milkvetch has 5 named varieties in NM (Allred, 2012) with flowers varying from 4 to 15 mm long. Some are widespread, others limited to 1–2 counties. With more than 75 species, Astragalus is the largest genus in NM, many with similar pea-like flowers. The different pod characteristics distinguish them. The look-alike, Crescent Milkvetch, A. amphioxys, has crescent-shaped pods, pointed at both ends, 3/4–2-inches long (2–5 cm).


NM COUNTIES: Statewide except De Baca, Hidalgo, Luna counties in mid-elevation, dry habitats.

MISSOURI  MILKVETCH

ASTRAGALUS  MISSOURIENSIS

Pea Family, Fabaceae

Perennial herb

  1. 1.Banner petal (upper arrow)

  2. 2.Wing petals (middle arrow)

  3. 3.Keel petals (lower arrow)

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