Identity of an Astragalus species near Terlingua, TX
Topic: Author: Nan Hampton Date: Tuesday - May 14, 2013 From: Terlingua, TX
QUESTION: I have been photographing as many of the wildflowers that I can this Spring 2013 season here in the Big Bend Area between BBNP, Terlingua and Alpine, TX. Two days ago I took a drive from Terlingua to Alpine and needless to say there was so many wildflowers that I did not have the time to take shots of them all. Most of them can be ID'd. However, I found one I've never seen before. I've narrowed it down to Astragalus but the actual species is a question mark. It appears as the same as the photo in your database, Astragalus thurberi. And again, however, your database says that the natural area is AZ and NM. I found the specimen on the stretch of Hwy 118 between what we locals refer to as "Trashcan Hill" (a knoll of Hwy 118 with pull off and a trashcan on each side) and the juncture of Hwy 118 and Terlingua Ranch Main Road. Along side of the Astragalus thurberi were the Tansy Aster/Desert Aster(?), Nodding Thistle, and Gyp Indian Blanket. All within a few feet of one another.
The different species of Astragalus are difficult to tell apart and the seed pod is often the determining factor instead of the flowers. You really need the plant in hand and a good key such as Correll & Johnston (see above) to do this.
Best of luck with your quest and your photographs of the areas wildflowers.