Fabaceae-Astragalus2017-05-24T15:50:58+00:00

Fabaceae: Pea Family — Astragalus (Milkvetch / Locoweed)

Nuttall’s Milkvetch / Gray Locoweed – Astragalus nuttallii var. nuttallii

Blooms:

All year

Plant Height:

2–10 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Rare or Endangered?

Yes – 4.2

Habitat:

Mainly coastal, on dunes & bluffs

Notes:

Astragalus is a very varied genus with many species, especially in the desert and towards the Central Valley.  Distinguishing them sometimes requires close attention to the number and color of leaflets or the shape and structure of the fruits which are often but not necessarily inflated like a bladder. This is by far the most common species found by the coast.  It has 10–21 pairs of small, oval blue-green to grayish leaflets, often in a dense tangle. Elongated cluster so creamy-white flowers develop into inflated pods, pale green below and pinkish above.  When the seeds dry, the pods rattle (hence another of its common names—”Rattleweed”)

Coastal Dunes Milkvetch – Astragalus tener var. titi

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

2–30 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Rare or Endangered?

Yes – 1.b1

Habitat:

Dunes and sandy flats

Notes:

Extremely rare, known only from one small area on 17 Mile Drive and another in Point Lobos (where it was introduced).  Low growing with stems less than 12 cm long,  There are 2–7 tiny bluish-purple flowers in each inflorescence.  Leaves are 5–8 cm long with 7–17 leaflets.