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Astragalus canadensis L.
Canadian milkvetch, Canada milkvetch, Milk vetch
USDA Symbol: asca11
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
This stout, erect-stemmed, often branched perennial grows 1-4 ft. tall. Leaves are pinnately-compound. Many whitish to pale yellow or greenish pea flowers hanging down slightly in dense racemes atop often clustered, leafy stems.
This was the first Astragalus from North America to be scientifically described. Representative of many species with white corollas, several notoriously poisonous, Canada Milk-vetch has toxic compounds but seems not to be a serious pest.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Root Type: Tap Leaf Complexity: Pinnate Leaf Shape: Elliptic Leaf:
Flowers 6 mm
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
, WY Canada: MB
, SK Native Distribution:
S.w. Que. to Hudson Bay & B.C., s. to GA
& n. CA Native Habitat:
Moist to dry prairies; stream banks; open woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist to mesic soils
Hummingbirds, Butterflies Warning:
All plants in the genus
Astragalus are potentially toxic to humans and animals if ingested, causing a disorder called locoism. The milk from an animal that has ingested Astragalus plants may also be toxic. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil. Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies , Hummingbirds Larval Host:
Western Tailed Blue
PropagationDescription: Easily propagated by seed sown unstratified in fall or stratified in spring.
Seed Collection: Collect in October. Take care to collect pods before seeds are eaten by insects.
Seed Treatment: Scarification, inoculation, and moist stratification for 10 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Coldwater, ON
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Johnstown, PANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff