Astragalus alpinus L. var. alpinus
alpine milk-vetch (alpine milkvetch)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Ryan Durand     (Photo ID #10841)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Astragalus alpinus var. alpinus
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Species Information

Low mat-forming perennial herb from a taproot and rhizomes; stems few to several, decumbent to ascending, 5-35 cm long, slender, branched, with short, appressed, unbranched hairs.
Alternate, pinnately compound, 5-15 cm long, stalked; leaflets 13 to 25, egg-shaped to oblong-elliptic, rounded to notched at the tip, 5-15 (20) mm long, appressed-hairy, the stalks equal to or longer than the leaves; stipules 1-8 mm long, the lower ones joined and clasping the stem.
Inflorescence a short, axillary raceme of 5 to 30 pea-like flowers, the flowers ascending at first, later nodding, the racemes 1-6 cm long on stalks from shorter to longer than the leaves; corollas pinkish- to bluish-purple, often white towards the base, 7-15 mm long, the darker-purple keel about as long as the banner, both longer than the wings; calyces bell-shaped, short-black-hairy, 3-6 mm long, the awl-shaped teeth about half the length of the tube.
Pods, ellipsoid-oblong, drooping from a slender stalk about as long (1-3 mm) as the calyx teeth, black appressed-hairy, membranous, 8-17 mm long, grooved below, almost 2-chambered, the partition sometimes nearly complete.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic streambanks, river terraces, meadows, rocky slopes, heath, tundra and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; frequent in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ID, MT, NM, NV, WA and NE OR.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Astragalus alpinus subsp. alaskanus HultΘn
Astragalus alpinus subsp. arcticus HultΘn
Astragalus astragalinus (Hook.) A. L÷ve & D. L÷ve
Atelophragma alpinum (L.) Rydb.