E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Astragalus umbellatus Bunge
tundra milk-vetch (tundra milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #23771)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Astragalus umbellatus
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from a buried stem-base and its rhizome-like branches; stems solitary or few together, erect to ascending, 5-30 cm tall, unbranched, long-soft-hairy with unbranched hairs.
Alternate, pinnately compound, 4-12 cm long; leaflets 7 to 13, oblong to elliptic, 1-3 cm long, blunt to rounded at the tip, dark green and glabrous above, sparsely white-hairy below; stipules leafy, narrowly egg-shaped, 7-15 mm long, the lowest fused and sheathing, the upper free but also sheathing at the base.
Inflorescence a short (1-5 cm long), compact, axillary, umbel-like raceme of 5 to 11 nodding, pea-like flowers, the raceme-stalks 3-9 cm long; corollas yellow to cream with white margins, sometimes purple-tinged, the wings slightly shorter than the banner and longer than the keel; calyces cylindric, greenish-yellow drying brown, sparsely black long-hairy, the tube 6-8 mm long, the triangular teeth less than 1 mm long.
Pods, lance-ellipsoid to egg-shaped, 20-25 mm long including the 5- to 7-mm long stalk, drooping, black soft-hairy, somewhat inflated, 1-chambered.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows, heath and tundra from the montane to alpine zones; rare in N BC; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT; E Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Astragalus umbellatus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 720 1583 1765
Slope Gradient (%) 15 39 65
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 273 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(9), MS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Astragalus frigidus (L.) A. Gray p.p.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References