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Astragalus americanus

Astragalus americanus (Hook.) M.E. Jones

American Milk-vetch, American Milkvetch, Rattlepod

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Astragalus frigidus var. americanus, Astragalus frigidus var. gaspensis, Phaca americana

USDA Symbol: ASAM3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A woody-based, branched perennial,1-3 ft. tall with large, light green, pinnately-compound leaves and greenish-white, tinged purple, pea-like flowers in loose racemes.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AK , CO , MT , SD , WY
Canada: AB , BC , SK
Native Distribution: AK, s. in Rockies though e. B.C. & MT to CO; also in the Black Hills & scattered e. in Canada to Que.
Native Habitat: Stream banks; meadows; thicket openings; flood plains

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, rocky or sandy soils.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Easily propagated by seed sown unstratified in fall or stratified in spring.
Seed Collection: 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.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Astragalus americanus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Astragalus americanus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Astragalus americanus


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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