WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Petit leaves and small blue to purple flowers cover the prostate, sprawling to erect 2–18-inch long, hairy stems. Note the small, 1/4-inch wide, flowers with a lilac banner petal with white base and dark stripes, and flat, curved pods.


FLOWERS: Spring, summer. Rounded flower clusters (racemes) on long stems have 3–7 bilaterally symmetrical flowers with 5 petal-like lobes. The erect “banner” is 3/16–3/8-inch (5–10 mm) wide and lilac with a white base with dark lines. The 2 wings on each side of the keel are white and lilac and the two keel lobes are fused. The whole flower is only 1/4–1/2-inch (6–12 mm) wide. Pod is flat (not inflated), curved, 1/2-1 inch (1.2-2.5 cm) long 1/8-inch (3 mm) wide with 2 chambers, covered with scattered tiny, flat-lying hairs.


LEAVES: Alternate, hairy, compound leaves. Blade 5/8–2 1/2 inches (1.6–6.5 cm) long with 7-23 leaflets 1/16–1/2-inch (2–14 mm) long, spaced along midrib, often with tiny notch at tip, margins entire (no teeth), surfaces hairy on bottom, hairy or not on bottom.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils, mesas, roadsides; desert scrub and grasslands, sagebrush scrublands, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,400-8,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, AR, CA, CO, KS, LA, NV, NM, OK, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: NM has 4 intergrading varieties of A. nuttallianus with minor differences in the hair and shape of the keel petals. The small flowers, curved pods, and annual duration help identify this species. More than 75 Astragalus species in NM with similar pea-like flowers. Many require pods for identification.


NM COUNTIES: Recorded statewide except Cibola and the ne corner, Colfax, Mora, Union, counties in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats.

SMALL-FLOWERED  MILKVETCH

ASTRAGALUS  NUTTALLIANUS

Pea Family, Fabaceae

Annual herb

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  1. 1.Banner petal (upper arrow)

  2. 2.Wing petals (middle arrow)

  3. 3.Keel petals (lower arrow)

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