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Astragalus beckwithii var. weiserensis

Astragalus beckwithii Torr. & A. Gray var. weiserensis M.E. Jones

Weiser's Milkvetch

Fabaceae (Pea family)

Synonym(s): Astragalus weiserensis


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

"Caulescent but variable in stature, glabrous or nearly so but the leaflets often thinly ciliate, and the bracts, raceme-axis, and inner face or tips of the calyx-teeth beset with a few straight, appressed hairs up to 0.3-0.6 mm. long, those of the inflorescence usually black, the herbage thick-textured, green, pale green, or glaucescent; stems usually stouter and coarser than A. b. var. Beckwithii, decumbent and ascending from the root-crown or shortly forking caudex, (1) 1.5-3.5 (7) dm. long, simple or bearing 1-3 branches or spurs at the lowest axils.." (bibref: 1814).

"As compared with A. b. var. Beckwithii, the individuality of var. A. b. var. weiserensis arises from the greater extreme and average dimensions of the flowers and leaflets, from the usually coarser habit of growth, and from the nearly always larger stipules, bracts, and bracteoles." (bibref: 1814).


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Size Notes: "Stems usually stouter and coarser than A. b. var. Beckwithii, decumbent and ascending from the root-crown or shortly forking caudex, (1) 1.5-3.5 (7) dm. long." (bibref: 1814).
Leaf: "Stipules herbaceous, the lowest becoming papery, (3) 4-10 mm. long, the lower ones amplexicaul-decurrent around half to the whole stem’s circumference, the upper ± semiamplexicaul, with deltoid or triangular, often recurving blades; leaves (2) 4—15 cm. long, petioled but the upper ones shortly so, with (7) 11-17, broadly ovoid to rhombic-elliptic, obtuse, retuse, or sometimes mucronulate, flat leaflets (0.6) 1—2.5 mm. long." (bibref: 1814).
Flower: "Peduncles erect or incurved-ascending, 3—14 cm. long, shorter than the leaf; racemes loosely but shortly 7—16-flowered, the flowers ascending at a wide angle, the axis 1-7 cm. long in fruit; bracts membranous or early becoming so, ovate or lanceolate, 3-7.5 mm. long; pedicels at anthesis slender, ascending, 1-2.5 mm. long, in fruit either ascending or arched outward, 2—3.5 mm. long; bracteoles commonly 2, sometimes conspicuous, (0.4) 1-4 mm long; calyx glabrous except for a few hairs on the margins and inner face of the teeth, (8.5) 10.2-13.5 mm. long, the subsymmetric disc 0.9—1.5 mm. deep, the tube (4.6) 5.1-6.3 mm. long, (3) 4.3-5.2 mm. in diameter, the lance-subulate teeth (3.6) 5-7.1 mm. long, the whole becoming papery, marcescent unruptured; petals ochroleucous, or purple with whitish wing-tips, rarely almost white; banner abruptly recurved through ± 90 °, (16) 17-20.5 mm. long, broadest either above or below the middle, the blade ovate, obovate, or obscurely fiddle-shaped; wings 17—20 mm. long, the claws 6.5-9 mm, the oblanceolate or narrowly oblong-elliptic, obtuse or rarely subemarginate, straight or slightly incurved blades 10—13.5 mm. long, 2.6—4 mm. wide, keel (12.4)13—15.5 mm. long, the claws 6.2—8.5 mm., the half-obovate blades 5—7 mm. long, 2.8-3.8 mm wide, abruptly incurved through 90-100° to the deltoid, sometimes obscurely porrect apex; anthers (0.6) 0.65—0.85 mm. long." (bibref: 1814).
Fruit: "Pod ascending, spreading, or somewhat declined, elevated on a stout, often of very thick, ultimately rigid texture, straight gynophore 1.5-5 mm. long, obliquely ellipsoid, oblong- or ovoid-ellipsoid, (1.5) 2—3 cm. long, 6—12 mm. in diameter, sharply incurved or bent (mostly at or below the middle) through 45-135 (180)°, usually acute at both ends, ± obcompressed and dorsally flattened or sulcate below the laterally compressed, triangular beak, keeled ventrally by the prominent, narrowly but sharply wing-margined suture, the fleshy, glabrous, pale green or glaucescent and often brightly mottled valves becoming stiffly leathery, brownish or stramineous, inflexed as a narrow, sometimes sub- obsolete septum up to 1 (1.5) mm. wide, this usually broadest just below the beak and becoming narrower or disappearing downward; ovules (18) 25—41; seeds light or dark brown, smooth but dull, 2.3-3.4 mm. long." (bibref: 1814).

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: "Petals ochroleucous, or purple with whitish wing-tips, rarely almost white. Mid-April to June." (bibref: 1814).


USA: ID , NV , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: "Locally plentiful but discontinuous in range; common about the west end of the Snake River Plains in southwestern Idaho and adjoining Oregon, ascending the Snake to the Raft River and to one station in Franklin County, Idaho; apparently absent from the Grand Canyon of the Snake, but again common below the mouth of the Salmon River in the southeast corner of Washington, the north foothills of the Blue and Wallowa Mountains in Oregon, and adjoining Idaho; isolated along the lower Fraser River (Kamloops and vicinity) in southern British Columbia." (bibref: 1814).
Native Habitat: "Gullied bluffs, river terraces, dry hillsides and sagebrush flats, in sandy, gravelly or heavy clay soils, 100-2500 feet." (bibref: 1814).


Bibref 1814 - Atlas of North American Astragalus Volume 2 (1964) Barneby, Rupert C.

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Astragalus beckwithii var. weiserensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Astragalus beckwithii var. weiserensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Astragalus beckwithii var. weiserensis


Record Modified: 2020-12-07
Research By: JAM

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