Astragalus tenellus (Loose-Flowered Milk-Vetch) - photos and description

15 cm ruler for scale





General: Plants with decumbent to erect growth habit. Lower stems red, stems have short hairs.

Flowers: Flowers white, keels may have a purple tip. Flowers 8 mm to 1 cm long. Inflorescence 4 to 5 cm in length, longer than the flowering stem.

Leaves: Leaves alternate, pinnate with 11 to 21 leaflets. Leaflets linear oblong, measured to 2 cm long and 5 mm wide, usually folded inwards toward the stem. Bottom of leaves sparsely hairy.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 50 cm. We measured plants to 33 cm tall.

Habitat: Prairie slopes and lakeshores.

Abundance: Fairly common.

Origin: Native.

Synonym: Listed in some of the field guides we use as Astragalus multiflorus.

How to identify this species of Astragalus: I look at it's white flowers with a length of about 8 mm, its decumbent to erect growth habit, reddish lower stems, loose inflorescence, leaflets to 21, and its inflorescence longer than its flowering stem (Taxonomic Reminder for Identifying Saskatchewan Plants).

When and where photographed: Took the above photos June 9th, prairie slopes of the Qu'Appelle Valley, 40 km north of Regina, SK.