WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Sprawling stems 12–18-inches long with ends arching upward and densely covered with soft, silvery hair often form thick clumps with numerous spikes of purplish flowers. Note the plant is densely white-hairy throughout with fuzzy pods.


FLOWERS: March–July. Spike-like (raceme) cluster with 7–45 flowers on tip of a 1–10-inch long (3–25 cm), leafless stem (peduncle); flowers pea-like, purple to lavender or pink (rarely yellow or creamy), 1/2–1-inch long (12–25 mm); 5 petals, upper banner has white center with red lines, 2 side wings point forward with (usually) white tips extending beyond 2 keel petals. Pods sessile (no stem), oval to elliptic, 3/8–1-inch long (9–25 mm), densely fuzzy-hairy, crowded along spike, not an inflated bladder.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blade pinnately compound to 10 inches (26 cm) long, densely white-hairy, with 15–29 small leaflets spaced along midrib; leaflets to 3/4 inch long (2 cm), usually arch upward.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, loam soils, roadsides, disturbed areas; desert scrub and grasslands, sage brushlands, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,500–8,800 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, KS, NE, NV, NM, OK, SD, TX, UT, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 6 varieties of A. mollissimus in NM with variations in flower color, plant hair, and size. The white, woolly-hairy leaves, stem, and pods help identify most varieties of this species. More than 75 Astragalus species in NM with similar pea-like flowers. Many require pods for identification. Missouri Milkvetch, A. missouriensis, has similar leaf and flower characteristics, but pods have flat-lying (not fuzzy) hairs.


NM COUNTIES: Statewide except Los Alamos and Taos counties in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats.

WOOLLY  LOCOWEED

ASTRAGALUS  MOLLISSIMUS

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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